All of the 28 aircraft held by the Museum are significant in the way they relate to New Zealand military aviation. Some are the only remaining examples of their type in the world, for example the Avro 626 and Vickers Vildebeest biplanes. Others are the only aircraft of their type in New Zealand (Bleriot, Sopwith Pup, Cessna O2A, and Dauntless) or the only example held in a public collection.
17 aircraft are on display in the main Museum complex, with a further 11 in storage in 3 Hangar. You can see the aircraft in storage, as well as the three aircraft restoration projects on our Behind the Scenes Tour.
Wigram Landmark Returns
A Wigram landmark has returned. Harvard NZ1050, the former gate guardian for RNZAF Base Wigram, has emerged from being restored at the Air Force Museum of New Zealand, and is once again overlooking the intersection of the Main South Road and Harvard Avenue. The aircraft is an RNZAF memorial and was erected in June 1973 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the formation of the New Zealand Permanent Air Force in 1923. Although it was taken down in 1999 for maintenance, this time it received a thorough restoration to ensure it can weather at least another twenty year’s exposure to the elements.
The aircraft has been given a slightly different paint scheme this time, sporting a livery used from 1959 to 1970, which features the silver fern at the centre of the roundel. A small team of staff and volunteers has worked hard over the past nine months to ensure that NZ1050 would be ready to be reinstalled prior to Christmas. With a beautiful sunny day and help from Titan Cranes Ltd, that became a reality. Recently, work began on the Museum’s new expansion project which will double the size of the main complex, making it one of the best visitor attractions in Christchurch.