The Beatles' first (disastrous) show in New Zealand

The Beatles’ first (disastrous) show in New Zealand

On June 22, 1964, the Beatles performed for the first time in their career in New Zealand. The live broadcast was held at Wellington Town Hall. In the following days they move to Auckland, Dunedin, Christchurch. Finally, on June 28, the formation leaves New Zealand.

When the Beatles landed on June 21 at Wellington Airport (New Zealand), they found a large crowd of boys and girls waiting for them (one of the girls severely cut her thigh trying to climb a wire fence). Once they got off the plane, Paul McCartney put in his hands a (fake) kiwi, a huge bird symbol of the nation.

Subsequently, the four were given a large tiki, a typical Polynesian spiritual figure. The Beatles were also waiting at the airport by Māori women, the typical Polynesian population living in Australia and New Zealand.

The concert impressed the audience, despite some problems with the sound, so much that at the end of the show, John Lennon exclaimed:

What the hell is going on?

There were only three policemen in front of a crowd of several thousand fans, 10 meters from the entrance to the band hotel. The Beatles got trapped in their car. Their entourage had to push the car, inch by inch, toward the hotel garage through a sea of ​​unconscious hysterical fans. While trying to enter the hotel, the Beatles were run over and beaten by some particularly fiery fans.

A scandal nearly swallowed up the Beatles’ tour when it was discovered that a 20-year-old girl had cut her wrist in the room of a member of the band’s entourage after he refused his request to meet the band. The drama unfolded when a policeman saw her lifeless from the window. The door was broken and the girl was saved.

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The South Island was the last stop of the Beatles’ New Zealand tour in 1964. The Dunedin concerts on June 26 were among the most enthusiastic on their New Zealand tour. The police were in force. Fans used police helmets as soccer balls, and kicked them into the lanes. The (generally quiet) city of Christchurch was also taken over by Beatlemania. Huge crowds lined the streets. A 13-year-old cheerleader threw herself on the hood, jumped off the ground but, fortunately, was unharmed.

Rotten eggs and tomatoes flew to the Fab Four when they appeared on the hotel balcony. A banner in the crowd conveyed the encrypted message:

We love Elvis, Cliff, Castro and Mao Zedong but not the Beatles.”

The tour’s final performance was the shortest: The Beatles remained on stage for only 26 minutes. Perhaps that is why fans threw marbles and candy on stage. A fan on the floor below remembers watching the gallery’s support beams sway dangerously as fans upstairs stomp their feet furiously.

Two thousand people watched the Beatles leave their hotel for the airport; Another 2,000 were crammed behind the fence at the airport. The band stood on the steps of their plane to Australia, waving to the crowd sobbing.

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