Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Matamata 4: Kaimai crash memorial

Above is the best of three photos taken as the tour bus I was in slooowwly (thankfully!) moved forward so those of us who were lucky enough to be sitting on the left hand side got a good gander at the Kaimai crash memorial. Not sure if those on the right hand side saw anything.

There's more information to be had on the crash which happened 3 July 1963, New Zealand's worst internal air disaster (and just over a month before I was born), here, here and here.

The wording on the memorial (pity I wasn't closer, but thankfully, I have a bit of an aviation history library here ...) is:
"Douglas DC-3 Skyliner ZK-AYZ "Hastings" of N. Z. National Airways Corporation crashed into the Kaimai Range 9 km northeast from here on 3 July 1963, during a scheduled flight from Auckland to Tauranga.

"This plaque placed here in memory of the three crew and twenty passengers who died on Flight 441."
Below that is an aircraft seating plan for the ill-fated flight, giving names of the passengers and crew. The memorial was dedicated 5 July 2003. Another plaque was placed up at the actual crash site, 3 July 2003.

Quoting from Richard Waugh's 2003 book Kaimai Crash:
"The Kaimai crash of 3 July 1963 marked the end of the "pioneering era" of piston engine airliner accidents on New Zealand scheduled services. It was 25 years after the first accident, a Lockheed L10 Electra at Auckland's Mangere Aerodrome in May 1938 and, over the years prior to the 1963 crash, there had been a further seven fatal airliner accidents. The Kaimai crash was the last of its kind. The next fatal accident of a scheduled airliner on New Zealand soil was over 20 years later and it was to be more than 30 years before an airliner of similar size to the DC-3 crashed. This was the Ansett New Zealand DHC Dash 8 ZK-NEY which crashed on 9 June 1995, while on approach to Palmerston North. Sadly three passengers and the flight attendent died, but amazingly 17 people survived; very different from DC-3 ZK-AYZ. May the 1963 Kaimai crash continue to stand unchallenged as New Zealand's worst internal air disaster."


  1. There was another tv show called Secrets of NZ which documented a shocking plane crash of civilians classed as enemy aliens in WW2.
    It was covered up for a long time (haven't been able to find anything online so far) apparently the plane crashed shortly after take off in NZ and all on board were killed, pilots, civilians, the whole lot.
    From memory it was an American plane and the bodies were just taken away and buried. They spoke to a couple of witnesses who were still upset at the fate of the children.

  2. The closest I can come to this is apparently the crash of a US Liberator at Whenuapai where some Japanese interned in NZ from Tonga were on board. A book was apparently written about it: here.

  3. I have found out not so long ago that my Grandmother her friend and I were the 3 lucky ones that had cancelled that flight.

  4. Good heavens, Victor -- indeed, you three were lucky! Thanks for stopping by.