The Kaimai Crash
On 3 July 1963 a National Airways Dakota DC3 went missing in a storm which it encountered while flying on the first leg of a routine passenger trip from Auckland, via Tauranga, Gisborne, and Palmerston North, to Wellington. It was thought that the crash had occurred in the Kaimai Ranges in the vicinity of the small settlement of Gordon, but deteriorating weather conditions prevented rescue operations. At 11.30 a.m. on 4 July one of the ground parties saw wreckage on a 2,400 ft bush-covered ridge of Mount Ngatamahinerua (2,787 ft). This information was quickly checked by helicopter and a ground party at once set out from Gordon. They found the plane completely burned out and the 22 passengers and three crew members dead. This is the worst air accident in the history of civil or military aviation in New Zealand. The remains of the aircraft were covered over by an Army party on 2 May 1964.