150th Anniversary of NZ Standard Time

Where: Te Ahumairangi Ground Floor, National Library, cnr Molesworth & Aitken Streets, Thorndon, Wellington

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Listed by: Joan McCracken

Up until 150 years ago, each New Zealand region had its own, different time zone.

Join historian Gerard Morris as he takes us through the history of the adoption of New Zealand Standard Time, and Chief Executive of the National Measurement Institute of Australia, Dr Bruce Warrington, who will detail the science behind standard time and the technological innovations such as GPS it enables.

1886 first Cook Strait cable was the beginning:
In 1866, the first cable across Cook Strait was laid and regions between Napier and Bluff became connected by telegraph. Variations in operating hours at the relaying and receiving offices along the line initially hinder the smooth transmission of messages.

So, in 1868 the Telegraph Department proclaimed that all offices had to adopt Wellington time.

This move lead to a parliamentary decree establishing a single time for the whole country — the first implementation of standard time in the world, which came into effect on November 2, 1868.

About the speakers:
Gerard Morris is a faculty member at Ara Institute in Christchurch and teaches Cultural Studies. He has been a researcher for 40 years and is a member of the Professional Historians Association of New Zealand Aotearoa. His 2012 Masters’ thesis is titled 'Time and the Making of New Zealand'.

Dr Bruce Warrington, Chief Metrologist and CEO of the National Measurement Institute, Australia, a counterpart to and partner of NZ’s Measurement Standards Laboratory. A graduate of the University of Otago, he completed a DPhil in Oxford on atomic physics research and worked with CSIRO in Sydney on the development of atomic clocks.

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