NZ vs SA: New Zealand Cricket Board Unveils 'Tangiwai Shield' To Commemorate 1953 Tragic Rail Disaster

NZ vs SA: New Zealand Cricket Board Unveils 'Tangiwai Shield' To Commemorate 1953 Tragic Rail Disaster

All New Zealand and South Africa Test series will be played for Tangiwai Shield, starting with upcoming Test series on Sunday.

Hrishikesh DamodarUpdated: Friday, February 02, 2024, 11:47 PM IST
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Tangiwai Shield | Credits: Twitter

New Zealand Cricket Board on Monday has unveiled a special trophy 'Tangiwai Shield' ahead of two-match Test series between New Zealand and South Africa, with first Test takes place on February 4 at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui.

All New Zealand and South Africa Test series will be played for Tangiwai Shield, starting with upcoming Test series on Sunday. Tangiwai Shield holds a significance as it commemorate 70 years since the Tangiwai rail disaster of 1953, which saw 151 people lose their lives.

The disaster is considered one of the worst in the history of New Zealand and former Kiwi pacer Bob Blair's wife was one of 151 victims in the disaster. The tragic rail disaster was coincided with second Test between New Zealand and South Africa at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on the eve of Christmas, December 24. Bob Blair was part of the Kiwis team.

On the day of the match, New Zealand player woke up to the shocking news of the accident at their hotel. Bob Blair stayed back at the hotel as he was grieving over the demise of his wife and flags were lowered to half-mast to honour the victims of tragic Tangiwai rail accident.

About Tangiwai Rail Tragedy

Tangiwai Rail Tragedy is considered one of the deadliest events in the history of New Zealand, which occurred on the eve of Christmas, December 24.

The disaster happened when the railway bridge over the Whangaehu River was collapsed below the Auckland to Wellington express passenger train in Tangiwai, Northern Islands. The locomotive and six carriages of the express train derailed into the river, killing 151 people out of the 285 crew on the board. Bob Blair's wife was among the people who lost their lives in tragic accident.

After the New Zealand railway board conducted an investigation and it found that the tragic railway accident was caused after the bridge was destroyed due to collapse of tephra dam that held by nearby Mount Ruapehu's carter lake, creating lahar in the Whangaehu River. The bridge was wreaked minutes before the Auckland to Wellington express passenger train arrived on it.

Tangiwai Shield acts as symbolism of resilience

Tangiwai Shield doesn't hold its significance in New Zealand but also act as a symbolism of resilience to the nation's continued spirit in face of adversity and perseverance, memorializing the strength that arose from 1953 Tangiwai tragic rail disaster.

NZC Chief Executive Scott Weenink stated that it is one of the 'most heartbreaking and unimageable' stories. He added that Tangiwai tragic rail disaster is a story of overcoming the challenges with incredible courage and resilience.

"The background to this Test match is one of the most sad and moving and heart-breaking stories imaginable. It's also an uplifting story of incredible courage and resilience, and in terms of the South African team and public, great compassion and empathy." Weenink stated.

"I'm delighted to see this very important part of cricket history properly recognised and acknowledged." he added.

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