Story: Tsunamis

Page 5. Experiences of tsunamis

‘We revelled in it, whooping and hollering as we followed the ebb’. Rossi King-Turner describes her memory of the 1960 tsunami.

The tsunami in May 1960, caused by a Chile earthquake, is the one most often recalled by New Zealanders. Despite the potential of tsunamis to create tragic destruction, the 1960 event was not a major disaster in New Zealand. No lives were lost or even threatened. So when we invited stories about natural disasters, the 1960 tsunami accounts tended to be more amusing than terrifying.

What's your story?

A crab’s eye view

A crab’s eye view

Rossi King-Turner was living in a beach-front home in Pelorus Sound in May 1960, when something unusual happened.

Bird show

Bird show

Lionel Hussey and his naval colleagues were amused by the sight of gannets diving into mud – it was probably not quite so funny for the birds.

Head for the hills

Head for the hills

Iain Lennox saw some strange sights when the tsunami hit Whitianga.

How to cite this page:

Eileen McSaveney, 'Tsunamis - Experiences of tsunamis', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/tsunamis/page-5 (accessed 10 December 2019)

Story by Eileen McSaveney, published 12 Jun 2006, reviewed & revised 1 Aug 2017