Waitangi Day Bus Accident, 1963
Shortly after 1 p.m. on 7 February 1963 a bus descending Pilbrow Hill, in the Brynderwyn Hills, near Whangarei, failed to take the last bend before the bottom, smashed through a fence, and rolled through scrub down an almost vertical slope to the Piroa Stream 100 ft below, killing 15 of the passengers and injuring the remaining 21. Ten of those killed came from Ngati Whatua settlements in the Helensville district. All the passengers were Maoris who had attended the royal visit celebrations at Waitangi. Subsequently, the Transport Department's inquiry found that the accident was caused by the failure of the service brakes.