Skip to main content
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 Second Period

Then, after a lull around the turn of the century, the second period of major achievements, 1905–14 began. Our two most famous guides, Peter and Alex Graham, made their appearance. Peter Graham led the first traverse of Mount Cook in 1906 and followed it with many outstanding climbs. Newton, Teichelmann, and Alex Graham specialised in the heavily glaciated region at the head of the Fox and made first ascents of a further six peaks – La Perouse, Hicks, Lendenfeld, Haast, Douglas, and Torres, all 10,000 footers. A band of fine guides was gathered at the Hermitage, where Peter Graham, as chief guide from 1906 to 1922, established a tradition and an attitude towards the mountains of which the influence continues still. Within this period, too, some climbers were active in the Otago Alps, where in 1909 the beautiful peak of Aspiring was climbed. Some early climbs were made from the Rangitata, with the first ascent of D'Archiac in 1910.

After the First World War, guideless climbing steadily grew, especially under the inspiration of the Englishman, Porter. Then in the early 1930s it experienced an upsurge of interest which in the course of a few years swept the Alps from end to end with bands of enthusiastic climbers. The valleys and mountains of Otago, Westland, and South and North Canterbury were thoroughly explored, and a succession of new climbs and new crossings has continued down to the present day. These expeditions, which were often of first-class importance, are recorded in the journals of the New Zealand Alpine Club and the Canterbury Mountaineering Club, but are too numerous to be mentioned here. The climbing of the last three decades, however, has been marked by the presence of great numbers of student climbers, a steady progress in the development of mountaineering skills, a growth in the number and influence of mountain clubs, and a parallel increase in the popularity of tramping. Finally, as a natural outcome of this mountaineering flood-tide, several expeditions have been made overseas. The first expedition to the Himalayas took place in 1951. At its conclusion Hillary and Riddiford joined Shipton's reconnaissance of Everest and kindled the spark which resulted in Hillary and Lowe's part in the 1953 ascent. Since then there have been expeditions to the Himalayas, Peru, Antarctic, and New Guinea.

Next Part: Mountain Clubs