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Open Daily 9.30am to 4.30pm
Armani with his family

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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. Artwork…

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65 years ago, the RNZAF took part in what would be the last of the world’s great air races – and narrowly averted disaster. Cover of the RNZAF’s Contact magazine from October 1953, featuring an illustration of the Harewood Gold Cup – the first place prize for the 1953 International Air Race. Image: Air Force…

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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…

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RNZAF Andover Transport Aircraft In Mogadishu

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…

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Open daily from 9.30am to 4.30pm (except Christmas Day)
Entry to the Museum is free, donations are appreciated.

45 Harvard Ave, Wigram, Christchurch | 03 343 9532

We welcome visitors of all abilities

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