From stuff.co.nz, 2 January 2016
The mail got through but the flying boat that flew the first official airmail from New Zealand to the United States crashed on its return flight to Auckland. All seven aboard died.
It was early January 1938 and the pioneering company Pan American Airways was opening a new airmail link between Auckland and Honolulu. Pan Am then forwarded it to San Francisco on a different company plane.
The Auckland route was trusted to Captain Edward C Musick, one of Pan Am’s most experienced and respected pilots. In the age of Amelia Earhart and Jean Batten, Musick was another hero. He appeared on the cover of Time magazine in December 1935 for pioneering flights across the Pacific.