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Air Force Museum Blog


The Hush Hush Boys: An Untold New Zealand Story of the Defence of Singapore, 1941-1942 (Part Two)

By Simon Moody | 07/12/2021

leet at Pearl Harbour in Hawaii and British forces in Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong. This anniversary seems an appropriate time to continue and conclude our previously untold story of a small group of New Zealanders serving as Air Force ground officers in Malaya and Singapore.


Combating Disease: Public health efforts in the RNZAF

By Louisa Hormann | 23/11/2021

Public health is all about protecting against community health risks and threats, preventing illness, and promoting health and wellbeing across the population or within groups of people. This blog looks at how the New Zealand military has historically promoted public health messages amongst its personnel, using examples from the RNZAF.


New to the Collection

By Air Force Museum | 15/11/2021

Discover some of the newest additions to the Air Force Museum of New Zealand collection.


A Sense Of Humour

By Louisa Hormann | 11/11/2021

Humour is a subject not often raised in the area of military history. Yet some of the strongest traditions and cultural legacies of military service – including those of our own Air Force – are full of inside jokes in line books, silly songs, famous (and infamous) fictional cartoon characters and countless visual gags.
Read the full story here.


Meeting the challenge of COVID

By Michelle Sim | 04/11/2021

Like many museums around the world, we have not been immune to the impact of the global pandemic. Find out how the Air Force Museum coped with Covid-1


Occupying Japan: the RNZAF and J-Force 1946-1948: Part 2

By Simon Moody | 02/11/2021

In a previous blog we looked at how RNZAF personnel were sent to Japan in 1946 with ‘J-Force’, part of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF). In a continuation of this 75th anniversary blog, we’ll take a look at what those RNZAF personnel did as part of J-Force and how it ended.


One Size Does Not Fit All: Perspectives On Collection Care

By Louisa Hormann and Murray McGuigan | 19/10/2021

In this blog, our collections technicians explain the work that goes in to processing new collection items, from cataloguing to housing and storage.

The Hush Hush Boys: An Untold New Zealand Story of the Defence of Singapore, 1941-1942 (Part One)

By Simon Moody | 12/10/2021

About 600 New Zealand Air Force personnel served in the defence of Singapore in 1941-1942. Some of their stories, such as the exploits of No. 488 Squadron RNZAF and the Aerodrome Construction Squadron have been well researched and written about. There are, however, other stories still to be told. This is one about a small group who had extraordinary experiences.

Image from the Ronald Findlay personal collection. High view of the New ZealCentennial-Exhibition-buildings-in-Wellington.

Conflagration at ‘Cardboard Castle’: The Rongotai Exhibition building fire

By Murray McGuigan | 29/09/2021

75 years ago, the former RNZAF station Rongotai was the scene of one of Wellington’s largest fires. The uncannily glamorous facility that had started life as a tourist mecca, then morphed into a busy military station, ultimately became a hot spot of a much more unfortunate kind.

Man standing on hill with urangutang

Metadata: ‘The Writing on the Back of Digital Photos’

By Matthew O'Sullivan | 21/09/2021

Many of us have old family photos stored away in albums or boxes at home. Most of us could probably identify our relatives in them, even when they were young children. But how often do we not know much, if anything, about the context behind these photos: where were they taken? When? By whom?


Ohakea Beer Fest

By Murray McGuigan | 18/09/2021

These potent examples of pottery were donated by a self-described ‘regular’ at the Ohakea baggies’ (junior ranks) bar – read more!

Stories of service and sacrifice

By Air Force Museum | 16/09/2021

Discover stories of service and sacrifice from Kiwis who helped shape New Zealand’s military aviation story.

Camouflaged Vildebeest NZ102

Piecing together the history of Vildebeest NZ102: Part two

By Simon Moody | 14/07/2021

Since our first blog on the history of Vickers Vildebeest NZ102, our Research Team has uncovered more of its secrets. This is an update on what we have found recently.

Matariki pleiades cluster

Matariki: Let’s go fly a kite!

By Louisa Hormann | 08/07/2021

Matariki Māori New Year is a time to celebrate and come together with whānau, friends and communities, maumahara (remember) the people who came before us and share knowledge, traditions, and skills through wānanga (learning), while looking forward to the year ahead. Read this article to find out where kites come into play!

CWGC headstone of P/O F.C. Matthews, Bergen-op-Zoom War Cemetery

Remembering the Fallen: War Graves Week, 2021

By Simon Moody | 21/05/2021

This week is War Graves Week, a celebration of the amazing work done by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) in preserving the graves and memorials of service people around the world. The burial and commemoration of the dead of both world wars was a massive undertaking and their continued care by the Commission is a worldwide venture.

Signed portrait photograph poster of Jesse Jensen as Jedi knight Saesee Tiin

May the 4th be with you!

By Simon Moody | 04/05/2021

As fans across unite in celebration of Star Wars, who would’ve thought that we’d have a link to the film franchise in our own collection?

Cataloguing our Archives: Preparing for Research in the Future

By Simon Moody | 29/04/2021

From 1 May 2021, the Research Team will be suspending our free enquiry service until the end of the year. We think it is important to explain why we are taking this step and what we will be doing during this period.

Ceramic poppy red

Remembrance Poppies

By Murray McGuigan | 23/04/2021

Somehow cheerful and solemn at the same time, the simple lapel poppy has a been a familiar feature of Anzac Day commemorations for generations of New Zealanders.

Parade towards buckingham palace

Parading for Victory: Air Force Contingent

By Louisa Hormann | 19/04/2021

75 years ago, the troopship “SS Maunganui” left Wellington to convey the New Zealand Victory contingent to the United Kingdom. Embarking on 20 April 1946, this journey took them all the way to London, where they joined a total of 1,600 personnel representing Commonwealth forces in the victory parade on 8 June 1946.

Armani with his family

Air Force veteran helps Rangiora student achieve flying dream

By Chris Davey | 29/03/2021

When Air Force veteran Derrick Hubbard flew solo on his 90th birthday with the Canterbury Recreational Aircraft Club (CRAC) in 2017, he and his (now late) wife, Vera, decided they would like to ‘pay it forward’ and sponsor a young person to experience the same opportunity. This person was Armani Hansen.

Occupying Japan: the RNZAF and J-Force 1946-1948: Part 1

By Simon Moody | 07/03/2021

In March 1946, the first RNZAF personnel of No. 14 Squadron paraded through the streets of Auckland to board the British aircraft carrier HMS ‘Glory’. Bound for the homeland of their recent enemy, Japan, it was an overseas odyssey which would last for two years.

Air Force Day ’81

By Murray McGuigan | 02/03/2021

The end of Summer in 1981 at RNZAF Base Ohakea was marked by a full-scale episode of PDA. Not a public display of affection (although who’s to say that didn’t happen?) but a public display of aircraft.

‘A few of our favourite things’: celebrating 1 year of our photos online

By Air Force Museum | 19/02/2021

Since launching in February 2020, our online photo collection has been accessed by thousands of people across the world. These are a few of our team’s favourite photos from the online collection.

Meteoric rise: New Zealand’s first jet flight

By Louisa Hormann | 09/02/2021

On 11 February 1946, Gloster Meteor NZ6001 became the first jet aircraft to take to the skies in New Zealand. While the Meteor barely saw any RNZAF service, this first jet flight and the publicity tour that followed showed tens of thousands of Kiwis the shape of things to come.

New Zealand’s first scheduled air mail service

By Simon Moody | 29/01/2021

On 31 January 1921, a small Avro 504 biplane of the Canterbury (NZ) Aviation Company took off from Sockburn Aerodrome, carrying the first scheduled airmail service to commence in New Zealand.

Remembering Operation Desert Storm: the RNZAF and the Gulf War, 1991

By Simon Moody | 18/01/2021

30 years ago, operations against Iraq ended with the conclusion of Operation Desert Storm. During this brief but decisive conflict, RNZAF personnel were deployed in support of the wider Coalition against Iraq’s dictator, Saddam Hussein, and his forces.

The story of ‘Crazy Kiwi’

By Jason Sim | 06/01/2021

Thanks to the power of social media, we’ve been able to uncover the story behind this little Kiwi, who came into our collection wearing a Royal Air Force uniform.

An Air Force Christmas

By Louisa Hormann | 22/12/2020

This small selection of Christmas stories, drawn from our archives, reflect the different experiences of men and women serving their country at Christmas time. Sometimes funny, occasionally sad, they all reflect how important this time of year is to service people and their families, both at home and abroad.

Piecing together the history of Vildebeest NZ102: Part one

By Simon Moody | 02/12/2020

The service history of our Vickers Vildebeest is punctuated by some remarkable stories, but uncovering them can be a research challenge. This is some of what has been found so far and how it was done.

‘Through Adversity to the Stars’

By Stacey Fraser | 25/11/2020

In this guest blog, Otago University postgraduate student Stacey Fraser discusses her experience using the Air Force Museum of New Zealand archives for her research into the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force.

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