Cave Creek disaster 1995

Where can I find information about the Cave Creek disaster in 1995?

Entry last updated: 13/01/21


Cave Creek is in Paparoa National Park on the West Coast of the South Island. On 28 April 1995, disaster struck when the viewing platform suspended high above Cave Creek collapsed. 13 Tai Poutini Polytechnic students and a Department of Conservation (DOC) worker, who were standing on the platform, were killed. Immediately after the disaster, questions were raised about the safety and construction of the viewing platform.

General websites

There are two websites that have useful facts and information about the Cave Creek disaster.

NZ History

This is a great website for information about the history of New Zealand Aotearoa. If you scroll to the bottom of the page you can see that it belongs to Manatū Taonga - the Ministry for Culture & Heritage.

  • Enter 'Cave Creek' into the search bar.
  • Find the link to the New Zealand disasters timeline.
  • Scroll down to the year 1995 and click Read more. This takes you to the Christchurch City Libraries website and their New Zealand Disasters feature on Cave Creek.
  • There are links to more resources at the bottom of the page.

Department of Conservation (DOC)

This government agency is charged with conserving New Zealand’s natural and historical heritage.

  • A search for 'Cave Creek' will bring up several results, including the Commission of Inquiry Cave Creek Report.
  • Following the publication of this report, major changes were made to safety standards for outdoor recreational facilities throughout New Zealand.
Tips: We like these sites because they are from a government organisation (Ministry or Council). You can tell this by their web address – they have .govt in their address.


This is a great website for finding out about events and opinions in New Zealand, including formal statements like press releases from the government and other organisations.

  • A search for 'Cave Creek' will bring up a variety of results.
  • Use the options on the side to limit the results by type or organisation.
Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

Newspapers, magazines and documentaries

There are also sites that have newspaper and magazine articles, and a documentary about Cave Creek. Some of these are from the time of the disaster (primary sources) and others have been written or made since.

Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre

This is one of the EPIC resources, a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. You may need a password from your school or local library to access it.

  • This database is a great resource for newspaper and magazine articles from New Zealand and Australia.
  • Search for 'Cave Creek' using the search box.
  • Choose the Full Text option from the side of the search results to see articles you can read online.
Tips: To use the EPIC resources you will need a login and password from your school librarian or you can login to AnyQuestions between 1pm and 6pm Monday to Friday and one of our librarians will help you online.

National Library of New Zealand

The National Library collects and stores all sorts of information about New Zealand.

  • Search using the keywords 'Cave Creek disaster 1995'.
  • This searches across all items in the National Library's collections and returns results for a range of material, including images, books and newspaper articles.
  • You may be able to request copies of these articles through your school or public library.

NZ On Screen

This website includes films and documentaries that have appeared on New Zealand television.

Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it’s better to leave out small words like ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘of’ and just choose the main ones, eg Cave Creek. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.


There is a book that has been written on the Cave Creek disaster - check out your local school or public library to see if they have it.

SCIS no: 1836094

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