by Jim Cable

New Zealanders should know that Jacinda Ardern’s claim that the 2019 Christchurch mosque massacre was New Zealand’s “darkest day” is wrong. 

The PM should be called out for her public preening and virtue-signaling, and for blatantly making political capital out of tragedy.

There are a number of historical events in which many more than 50 people died.


  • 60,000 dead over 1821–1840 when Maori murdered other Maori during the inter-tribal Musket Wars or starved to death because their tribes neglected cultivation for fighting.
  • 1200 dead in the 1834 Sacking of Taranaki’s Pukerangiora Pa by Tainui invaders. Death toll included around 150 Te Atiawa whose skulls were personally staved in with his mere by Tainui paramount chief, Te Wherowhero, who only stopped because his arm became swollen and tired.
  • 257 dead in Air NZ Flight 901 airliner crash, Mt Erebus, Ross Island, Antarctica, 28 November 1979.
  • 256 dead in Hawke’s Bay earthquake of 3 February 1931.
  • 200+ dead. 1820s Southland tsunami Orepuki Beach.
  • 189 dead in 1863 HMS Orpheus shipwreck 7 February 1863 off Manukau Heads, near Auckland.
  • 185 dead in Christchurch earthquake of 22 February 2011.
  • 151 dead in Tangiwai disaster train wreck/lahar 24 December 1953 Whangaehu River.
  • 134 dead in 1879 Little Waihi landslide Waihi Village.
  • 131 dead in SS Tararua shipwreck 29 April 1881 off Waipapa Point.
  • 121 dead in SS Wairarapa shipwreck 29 Oct 1894 off Great Barrier Island.
  • 87 dead in the Fiery Star shipwreck of 11 May 1865, 240 km off the Chatham Islands.
  • 75 dead in the Penguin shipwreck 12 February 1909 off Cape Terawhiti.
  • 68 dead in the General Grant shipwreck of May 1866, Auckland Island.
  • 65 dead in the Brunner Mine disaster 26 March 1896, Westland.
  • 65 dead in the Kakaramea landslide, 7 May 1846. Tuwharetoa tribal leader Mananui Te Heuheu Tukino II and most of his family were killed in the landslide.
  • 53 dead in Wahine shipwreck 10 April 1968, Barrett Reef, Wellington Harbour.
  • 52 dead in 1865 City of Dunedin shipwreck, 20 May 1865 off Cape Terawhiti. By some retrospective accounts, between 250 and 600 passengers perished, but these reports were 20 or more years later.
  • 51+ dead in Blizzards and floods July 1863 — August 1863 in Central Otago goldfields. The actual death toll was probably higher because of the transient nature of the miners and the ruggedness of the country.
  • 51 dead in Christchurch mosque shootings.