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Air Force Museum Blog

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New to the Collection

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

Remembering the Ball Pass Avalanche

On the afternoon of 23 July 1975, a deep slab avalanche occurred at the head of Ball Pass on Aoraki / Mount Cook. Tonnes of snow and ice slid down the slope face, directly into a group of RNZAF personnel on a training exercise.


Running Up That (Red) Hill

In January of 1953, an old army hut measuring 15×8 ft was given to the RNZAF Base Woodbourne Search and Rescue team by a Mr Hebberd of R­­ārangi near Blenheim. Read all about what happened to it here.


‘Never A Dull Day’: Teaching At The Air Force Museum Of New Zealand

Chris Davey has been the Education Officer at the Air Force Museum for over 16 years. A former primary school teacher and North Canterbury native, he recently shared what makes his job so special.


An album of memories: Stanley Wilks and 226 Squadron RAF

One of the first photo albums to be donated to our collection belonged to Stanley Edward Wilks mid (mentioned in despatches), NZ415429. A rather anonymous plain brown cover hides a trove of excellent photographs of operations by No. 226 Squadron RAF, sightseeing and recreation.


We will remember them: interviews with New Zealand’s last wartime aviators

While unable to hold our usual Anzac Day service at the Air Force Museum for Anzac Day 2022, it is a fitting opportunity to share with you some newly-edited interviews with some of the last RNZAF veterans of World War Two: Ron Hermanns, Bryan Cox, Max Collett, Maurice Mayston, and Alan Deere (interview with his nephew Brendon).

“Dear Daisy and Norrie”: The letters home of Squadron Leader Herbert George Percy Blackmore (RAF) to his sister, 1938-1941

rough a variety of ways. Letters were by far the most common during the two World Wars and provide us with an insight into New Zealand families separated by war.


Taking flight: the RNZAF contribution to NAC

75 years ago, on 1 April 1947, the New Zealand National Airways Corporation (NAC) officially launched its operations. The NAC period – with its Dakota DC-3 airliner in particular – is considered by some to be the ‘golden age’ of air travel in New Zealand. This blog highlights how the RNZAF contributed to the emerging national airline.


Brief Encounters: The short histories of No. 7 and No. 8 Squadrons RNZAF, 1942-1943

The entry of Japan into the Second World War in December 1941 led to the creation of a number of short-lived squadrons to fill the immediate defensive needs of New Zealand and train personnel for future operations of the RNZAF against the Japanese in the Pacific. These are the stories of two of these squadrons, which are closely linked together.


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

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

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.


A Sense Of Humour

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

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

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

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)

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

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’

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

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

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

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!

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

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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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’

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

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

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’

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

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

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

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

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

50 Years of Flying Kiwis

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

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

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

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

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

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

Avro 626 NZ203: fast facts on a unique aircraft

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Within the Glass Case: The Red Baron

So, who was this Baron von Richthofen and who was A.V. Barrow? Why and how did Barrow collect these souvenirs and what is their significance?

Air Force Museum Photo Archives go online

We are really thrilled to announce that for the first time ever, researchers will be able to browse digitised parts of our photograph collection, online.

The ‘Bougainville Typewriter’ – Bill Williamson’s trusted companion

To run a successful military unit requires a lot of administration. Learn more about the Underwood typewriter was used during World War Two.

Messenger Pigeons of World War Two

Homing pigeons were widely used as messenger carriers by the armed and civil services during World War Two.

Wāhine Toa: Women in Defence: collaborating and curating online

The first collaborative, online exhibition of its kind by New Zealand’s national service museums explores the journeys of women serving in New Zealand’s military since gender integration.

Conservation of photo negatives

Our Keeper of Photographs, Matthew O’Sullivan takes us through an example of conserving a photo negative from the collection.

40 years of service – the military journey of Harry Leese

Read the story of the life of a veteran who served in both World Wars.

Never Forget by Jo Bailey

Reflect on personal stories in ‘Never Forget’, by New Zealand writer Jo Bailey, where she has combined extensive interviews with the use of wartime diaries, black and white photos, and written memoir, to create six compelling first person accounts of war.

What’s in the background?

What’s in the background? Find out more about this photo from our Keeper of Photographs.

Ron Hermanns’ trench art collection

Discover Ron Hermanns collection of exquisitely-crafted ‘trench art’, produced during two tours of operation to the Pacific islands during World War Two.

On the wing – Rugby in the Royal New Zealand Air Force

With the Rugby World Cup in full swing, we thought it would be a great opportunity to trace the story of New Zealand’s national game in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).

A Bridge Too Far? Remembering New Zealand airmen and the battle for Arnhem 75 years on

Discover more about one of the most daring and ambitious military operations in history, Codenamed Operation Market-Garden which took place in Holland.

The Guinea Pig Club: New Zealand connections

Learn about the Guinea Pig Club and the innovative care administered to its members by New Zealand plastic surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe.

Fearless birds and wild winds: The meaning behind RNZAF badges and mottoes

Delve into the world of heraldry and discover the meanings behind some of our Air Force’s badges (crests) and their Te Reo mottoes. Read more in our latest blog!

Sunderland NZ4111 and the Chatham Islands incident

In 1959 an RNZAF Sunderland was damaged and eventually abandoned on the remote Chatham Islands east of New Zealand. In this blog, we explore the story of that incident, using recently-digitised historic photographs from our archives.

Many a Close Run Thing

An excerpt from the published memoirs of Tom Enright, a veteran New Zealand pilot from Central Otago. Tom joined the RNZAF in 1951, and on graduation, was recommended for a cadetship with the Royal Air Force College at Cranwell, England. His first 20 years flying was in a variety of military aircraft, including Vampires and Sunderlands, and he was a member of the famed RNZAF Vampire aerobatic team. He then spent the next 25 years as an airline pilot. This is an extract from his new book Many A Close Run Thing (Harper Collins NZ).

Archives: past, present and future

Celebrating International Archives Day, our Research team explore the past, present and future of the Museum’s archive in this blog.

Operation ‘Titanic’ – Dummy paratroopers in World War Two

Operation ‘Titanic’ was the codename for the dummy paratrooper drops and was part of the broader deception initiatives given the codename Operation ‘Bodyguard’.

Boeing 727 nose joins our collection

Read more about the arrival at the Museum of the nose section of former RNZAF Boeing 727 NZ7272.

Tweets from our Archives

Engage with our Archives in a new way! Through Twitter, our team have been sharing some of the remarkable treasures we have in our archives, as well as providing a peek into the everyday life of the research team here at the Air Force Museum.

The Berlin Airlift – Seventy Years On

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the climax of one of the most remarkable logistic and humanitarian operations in history.

Remembering the Kiwis of the Great Escape

On the night of 24 March 1944, the largest prisoner of war (POW) breakout ever attempted occurred at Stalag Luft III, a German camp for captured Allied airmen. Having taken over 750 men more than a year to prepare, this ‘Great Escape’ was unprecedented in its organisation and scale, but also in its tragedy. The…

An introduction to fabric doping

What is doped fabric? In this video blog, our Safety and Surface Technician talks through this historic process of aircraft fabric covering.

Music: Capturing a time and a place

Music has that amazing ability to transport you back in time and to another place. Whether it is listening to, reading, or watching; music is a powerful way of expressing thoughts and emotions from a different time. While the music collection here at the Air Force Museum is on the smaller side, we can still…

Meet our people

We are fortunate to have a team of incredible people here at the Museum – our 30 staff and around 80 volunteers come from diverse backgrounds, bringing many different skills and experiences, but what unites us all is the passion and enthusiasm for the work we do.

Airmen of the First World War – Remembering the other side

We all remember those who fought and died in war. Having just marked the Centenary of the end of World War One, there’s no better time to reflect on the sacrifice made by so many New Zealanders. However, how many remember those from the ‘enemy’ nations who fought and died at the same time? They…

Rules and razors: Facial hair regulations in the military

Additional material by Murray McGuigan November is rapidly drawing to a close, and for some men, it’s meant their razor has had limited use over the last 30 days.  ‘Movember’ is the month when usually clean-shaven guys cultivate upper-lip foliage in the name of raising money and awareness for men’s health. It’s a good cause,…

“Dismal News”: New Zealand Airmen’s reactions to the Armistice

At the 11th hour of 11 November 1918, the guns on the battlefields of Western Europe fell silent, marking the end of what would later be known as the First World War. Newspapers around the world reported the momentous news in detail, and people across the world rejoiced. New Zealand airmen serving overseas reacted to…

The New Zealand Fighter Wing and Mono Island, 1943 – taking the fight to the Japanese

By October 1943, the tide of the war in the Pacific against Imperial Japan had turned in favour of the Allies. Following the defeat of Japan’s aircraft carrier fleet at Midway in June 1942, the offensive passed to the Americans with Australian and New Zealand forces in support. Key to pushing onward was the seizure…

Remembering Thérèse

Last month we said goodbye to our long-serving and much-loved Director, Thérèse Angelo MNZM. Thérèse passed away on 15 October 2018 following a long, and brave, battle with illness, and was farewelled in a fitting service at the Museum she loved so much. Thérèse has left an indelible legacy across three decades of service to…

The Last Great Air Race: London to Christchurch 1953

65 years ago, the RNZAF took part in what would be the last of the world’s great air races – and narrowly averted disaster. The 1953 International Air Race was the initiative of the Canterbury International Air Race Council. At 19,756km it was the world’s longest air race, comprising two categories – a speed section…

A girl called Anne

Around mid-May I received a text message from a friend of mine. She told me she had signed us up to be tour guides for the Anne Frank exhibit that would be coming to Christchurch. At first, I was not particularly interested and didn’t want to take part however my friend is, thankfully, very persistent.…

Reflecting on wartime rationing

Sliding open my wardrobe door, and wading through drawers of clothes I find myself making that cliché comment, “I have nothing to wear, I need to go shopping”. This is usually followed by guilt, as actually I am really lucky to have a range of clothes, say, compared to my Nana who lived during World…

“Send for the Artist…” by Paul Harrison with Maurice Conly

Wing Commander Maurice Conly was the first and only official artist appointed by the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) and we hold much of his work in our collection. “Send for the Artist…” is his story, as narrated to and written by Squadron Leader Paul Harrison, RNZAF. Carefully (!) leaf through the pages of…

The arrival of the Southern Cross at Wigram

Until 1928, only two overseas flights had arrived in Australia and none at all in New Zealand. That changed when Charles Kingsford Smith and his crew of the aircraft Southern Cross landed at Wigram on 10 September 1928. Our guest blogger, Brian Lockstone of the Aviation Historical Society of New Zealand, explores the story behind…

Lucky Charms and Superstition

Among the personal collections of New Zealand airmen we’ve found the odd small trinket once thought to bring its owner good luck. This blog explores some examples from our collection and a few of the stranger tales of aviation superstition from World War Two. This airman doll belonged to Kiwi pilot Flying Officer Jack Hoffeins.…

A tale from the clothing store – Kit Bags

Down the back of the Museum, past the archives, behind the hangars, tucked into a corner, lies the clothing store. Over the past few months we have been busy upgrading the housing and updating the records of the many objects held within. The clothing store consists of seven environmentally-controlled rooms which are home to uniforms,…

Donation 101: Donating items to the Air Force Museum Collection

Have you ever considered donating an item to the Air Force Museum?  Donating to the Museum is a rewarding experience for many people, but did you know it’s a legal transaction? When someone donates an item to the Museum, a change of ownership is required. It’s a relatively straightforward process, but not quite as simple…

Education in an ejector seat

Although the Air Force Museum of New Zealand is best known for our military aircraft collection, we are not just about aeroplanes. Your students could be learning in a real life raft, or be educated in an ejector seat!  Located on the former air base at Wigram, Christchurch we invite our visitors to discover the…

More than a library

In the latest From the Reading Room blog, join us for a behind the scenes look at the Air Force Museum’s research facility, learn about its history, and find out how our archive is used by staff and researchers alike. Holding what is probably the largest collection of First World War aviation books in New…

Military Chocolate

With fat and sugar delivering caloric clout, and cocoa solids bringing caffeine – and alertness – to the party, it’s no wonder that chocolate (or sometimes just cocoa) has long been a staple of military ration packs – including those enjoyed by serving members of the New Zealand Defence Force. The imaginatively-named bar of chocolate…

Women at War by D.O.W. Hall

This year’s 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in Aotearoa has got us thinking about the influence gender equality has had on women serving in the New Zealand Armed Forces. Louisa Hormann of the Research Team discusses Women at War by D.O.W. Hall, and military roles for women in wartime New Zealand. Last week I attended…

RAF Centenary Air Show

On Sunday 10 June, the Air Force Museum of New Zealand attended an air show overseas for the very first time as exhibitors, as part of the RAF Centenary Air Show at RAF Cosford in England. We travelled all the way to the other side of the world courtesy of our friends at No. 40…

Electric Clothing

Late autumn; when leaves that were recently picture-perfect are clogging every drain in sight, and you’re forced to walk through small lakes that form around them. It’s the time of year when you quickly remember that damp footwear brings a misery all of its own – sure, you’re not going to get Trench Foot in…

Wartime Knitting Revived

When Christchurch City Librarian Kat Moody was looking for inspiration after taking up knitting again, her husband knew just where to look. Simon, who happens to be the Research Curator here at the Air Force Museum, retrieved some World War Two ‘comforts’ patterns from our archives, and took some copies for her. Having seen such…

Everest Flight, 1945: a New Zealand pilot and the new route up Everest

Our Research Team receive all kinds of public enquiries, and the questions we’re asked can lead us on some interesting paths – and even on mountain treks! This is the story of a Kiwi airman whose wartime reconnaissance photographs helped develop the safer, second route to the summit of Mount Everest. Earlier this year the…

Hudson under attack

No. 3 Squadron was involved in an epic struggle for life over the Pacific Ocean just four days after arriving on Guadalcanal in 1942. Flying Officer George Gudsell was captain of a Hudson on patrol when he spotted a Japanese naval task force south of Vella Lavella Island (Solomon Is.). When he flew closer to…

Anzac Day Over the Decades

Since Anzac Day was marked for the first time in 1916, Kiwis and Australians around the world have gathered to reflect on New Zealand and Australia’s national day of remembrance. The day holds special significance, because it is an opportunity to remember and honour the service and sacrifice of those who have gone before us. The Museum archives unit documents how…

Military Headgear Conservation

Headgear, usually in the form of hats, helmets or headdresses, has long been part of military dress, fulfilling roles of protection, insulation, identification and decoration. For civilians too, the wearing of hats in public was practically ubiquitous until well into the 20th Century, and hatters and milliners did a brisk trade. As a result, headgear…

Kiwis in Combat – Flying the Meteor with the Australians in Korea

This is the story of two New Zealanders and one epic battle they fought alongside Australian pilots in true ANZAC spirit. In 1950, the Cold War heated up when conflict between North and South Korea brought the United Nations (UN) into the struggle. China later joined the war in support of the faltering North Koreans.…

I Would Not Step Back by Hilary Pedersen and associated writers

‘The wagon was jammed with 96 men, a number which,  in the height of summer, and the only ventilation about a 2sq foot window, appeared disastrous. But I managed to exert some authority, and like a chess board I rotated people so all could be near the window for a spell…’ [1] This was how…

The Centenary of the RAF

A Century of Service On 1 April, the Royal Air Force (RAF) will celebrate one hundred years as the world’s first independent air force – a milestone which also holds special significance for the RNZAF. Our long-standing relationship with the RAF had its origins in World War One. Some 800 New Zealanders served in the…

Clothing Store_Stored Shoes_AFM

How do we slow the signs of aging?

While this may sound like a skin care ad, it’s not – this is preventative conservation museum-style. When it comes to slowing the aging process of our clothing collection at the Air Force Museum there are several principles we follow – it is all about preventing damage, without the use of any anti-aging miracle creams.…

The Flyer by Martin Francis

The Flyer by Martin Francis

Re-reading the RAF: cultural imaginings of the flyer The flyer – dashing youth, fortune hunter, chivalrous adventurer, city destroyer and defender. Given the popular appeal and significant wartime role of the RAF flyer between 1939 and 1945, it is perhaps surprising that until the publication of The Flyer: British Culture and the Royal Air Force…

RNZAF Andover Transport Aircraft In Mogadishu

RNZAF Stories: Mogadishu Memories

In January 1993 three RNZAF Andover transport aircraft and their crews from No. 42 Squadron were deployed to Mogadishu, Somalia. During the 1990s, the RNZAF was deployed to several war-torn regions of the world as peacekeepers and sources of humanitarian relief, a role they still fulfil today. Torn apart by civil war between local warlords and…

Neville Forsyth Harston Photo

War in the Air Exhibition – An Interesting Pilot

During the research for our War in the Air Exhibition on the First World War, several interesting and sometimes odd stories came to light. One of these lighter moments concerned Neville Harston of Hawkes Bay, who certainly stood out from the crowd.

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