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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



The Ward Parcel-bomb Murder, 1962

At 9 a.m. on 5 February 1962 James Patrick Ward a well-known Dunedin barrister, received a parcel in his office. A few minutes later the building was shaken by an explosion. Ward was rushed to the Dominican Tertiary Hospital, where he died six hours later. Although the police, in the course of their investigations, established the method by which death was inflicted, they were unable to discover any motive for the crime or to gather sufficient evidence to justify an arrest. From an examination of the debris in Ward's office, the police found that the parcel had been posted in Dunedin during the preceding weekend. It contained a roughly made wooden box in which were two torch batteries, a pull-through switch, an electric detonator, a quantity of explosive, electrical wiring, and pieces of tin. Apparently the opening of the parcel completed an electrical circuit which detonated the explosive.

An incident similar to the Ward case occurred in 1937 when a bomb was thrown at R. A. Singer, an Auckland lawyer. The Singer case has never been solved.

by Ronald Jones, Journalist and Script Writer, New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation, Wellington.