On 4 June 1943, the passenger train AB352 departed Ranfurly Station in Central Otago, heading for Dunedin. The journey ended in a calamitous derailment near the small town of Hyde, claiming the lives of 21 passengers and injuring dozens more. Up until this time, this was the worst train disaster in New Zealand.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

My Story

At the time of the disaster, I was a young child living on a farm at Kyeburn, Central Otago. The aftermath of the train accident for myself and immediate familiy has continued since 1943. It has forced traumatic life changes that would not have occurred otherwise. I believe this story, if such a mild term can be used, has had the same implications to our history as the Tangiwai disaster, the Wahine sinking and the Erebus plane crash. The impact on individuals and families is the same.

This tragedy was not nationally acknowledged at the time. The fact that so few people know about it has left me with a compelling drive to have this historical event finally recognised for the human tragedy it was. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu has observed: "The past refuses to lie down. It has an uncanny habit of returning to haunt one."