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Air Force Museum Blog

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

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.

New to the Collection

By Air Force Museum | 29/09/2020

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

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

Highlights from the Memorabilia Project

By Jason Sim | 30/04/2020

75 years ago, in April and May 1945, one of the first major humanitarian operations carried out by air forces took place over Holland.

Remembering Operation “Manna”, 1945

By Simon Moody | 24/04/2020

75 years ago, in April and May 1945, one of the first major humanitarian operations carried out by air forces took place over Holland.

Stories of service and sacrifice

By Air Force Museum | 17/04/2020

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

Avro 626 NZ203: fast facts on a unique aircraft

By Matthew O'Sullivan | 14/04/2020

The Avro 626 on display at the Air Force Museum of New Zealand is a very unique aircraft with an interesting story: it is the only fully-intact surviving aircraft operated by the RNZAF before World War Two.

Researching your family history online

By Louisa Hormann | 07/04/2020

Whakapapa connections – who we are, and where we come from – are how we relate to our families and our own place in the world. Whether you’re researching a military or civilian ancestor, this blog will help begin your journey into exploring your family history – a journey you can start online.

Origins of the Royal New Zealand Air Force

By Michelle Sim | 31/03/2020

On 1 April 1937, following the passing of the Air Force Act, the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) was established as an independent service.

Let’s Talk Research: The Heavy and Continuous Sacrifice Conference

By Simon Moody | 30/03/2020

Over 13-15 February 2020, a major international conference on World War Two was held at Massey University campus in Wellington. Entitled ‘Heavy and Continuous Sacrifice’, it focused on New Zealand and international aspects of the conflict.

Handle with care

By Murray McGuigan | 20/03/2020

Every day, objects in our collection present our team with unique challenges to overcome if we are to look after them in the best possible way. Find out more about individual storage solutions.

My time at the Museum

By Pilot Officer Charlie Haines | 05/03/2020

The past three months I had the opportunity to work with the collections team and have discovered that there is so much more to the Museum than what is on public display.

‘Women Aviators’ by Karen Bush Gibson

By Lilly Bullen | 05/03/2020

This relatively small hard-backed publication, with just over 230 pages, is a little gem box of a book. Containing ‘26 Stories of Pioneer Flights, Daring Missions, and Record-Setting Journeys’, it is indeed a celebration of the dramatic, pragmatic, and often hard fought for, achievements of women throughout the history of aviation.

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