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Air Force Museum Blog

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!

New to the Collection

By Air Force Museum | 11/06/2021

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

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

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.

Canberra WT346 heads to a new home

By Air Force Museum | 10/11/2020

We’re really thrilled to share that our Trust Board has signed an agreement, loaning ex-RAF Canberra B(I)8 WT346 to NZ Warbirds Association Inc. at Ardmore for restoration to static display.

The ‘Battle of Britain’ comes to New Zealand

By Louisa Hormann | 17/09/2020

In 1969, the blockbuster film “Battle of Britain” was released in New Zealand, generating one of the largest paper objects in the Air Force Museum collection.

Remembering ‘The Few’ 80 Years On

By Simon Moody | 14/09/2020

The Battle of Britain in the summer of 1940 was one the turning points of World War Two. For five months, from June until October 1940, a small number of young fighter pilots of the Royal Air Force (RAF) struggled against the much larger German Luftwaffe for control of the skies over southern England.

The Battle of Britain Lace Panel

By Murray McGuigan | 14/09/2020

Discover the story of one of the Museum’s most special artefacts – the Battle of Britain commemorative lace panel.

50 Years of Flying Kiwis

By Nathan Bosher | 02/09/2020

The Kiwi roundel has now graced the aircraft of the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) for 50 years, more than all other roundel types in total. Just how did a flightless bird end up as an enduring symbol of our Air Force?

Cook Strait: the first flight

By Simon Moody | 19/08/2020

On 25 August 1920, three men of the Canterbury (NZ) Aviation Company conquered one of the great barriers to New Zealand aviation, when they made the first aerial crossing of Cook Strait.

Witnesses of Deliverance: New Zealand Airmen and Dunkirk, May-June 1940

By Simon Moody | 04/06/2020

The ‘Miracle of Dunkirk’ ensured that Britain’s army would not suffer the same fate as those of France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Norway and Poland and fight on. While no New Zealand troops took part, there were significant numbers of New Zealand airmen involved and these are some of their stories.

50 Years On: RNZAF Skyhawk Purchase and Arrival

By Simon Moody | 15/05/2020

It has been 50 years since the McDonnell Douglas A4-K Skyhawk, one of the most iconic and longest-serving aircraft in the history of the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), first arrived in New Zealand

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