uring the war, many aspects of the New Zealand economy improved. The massive effort of workers increased production in many areas, but there were shortages of imports, and wages stayed low as did inflation, greatly improving New Zealand's financial position. In the post-war years the trend continued, and there was increased immigration from Europe with the population passing the two million mark in 1952.
The following year New Zealand climber Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing from Nepal became the first team to reach the summit of the world's highest mountain, Mt Everest.
During the 1950s and '60s, New Zealand soldiers were involved in the Korean and Vietnam wars, but overall the decades were a prosperous time. However, there were also two major transport disasters. In the Tangiwai disaster in 1953, 151 people were killed when a mud flow from the eruption Mt Ruapehu washed away a railway bridge; and in 1968, during a severe storm the passenger ferry Wahine hit rocks at the entrance to Wellington Harbour and 51 people drowned.
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