Free Admission
Open Daily 10am to 5pm
People of the Air Force Museum

Meet our people

Smokey Dawson Technical Volunteer

Smokey Dawson_15 Nov 18_web

You will most commonly find Smokey these days in the Museum’s workshops, beavering away on the Catalina. Although he’s only been volunteering with us since 2013, his association with the Museum, and with the Catalina in particular, goes back much further.

Ray Sheridan Volunteer Guide

Ray Sheridan_29 Nov 18_web

Ray Sheridan began volunteering with us as a guide in 2015, motivated in part by an interest in aircraft, but also a family association – he has a granddaughter who is a medic in the Air Force, currently based at Woodbourne.

Sam McKinnon Exhibitions Designer

Sam McKinnon

Sam McKinnon has been our Exhibitions Designer for a little over two years now, having come to us from Canterbury Museum where she previously worked as an Exhibitions Technician. As her job title suggests, it is Sam who is the creative talent behind our exhibitions and displays.

Ron Reeve Technical Volunteer

Ron Reeve

After a lifetime spent ‘playing with aeroplanes’, volunteering in the technical section here at the Air Force Museum seemed a natural way for Ron Reeve to spend his retirement.

Hans Nagelkerke Volunteer Guide

Hans Nagelkerke hails from the Netherlands, where he did a period of service in the Dutch Air Force, beginning as an assistant engineer and finishing up as a crew chief on the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter. When he left the military, the job market in the Netherlands was not all that positive, so following recommendations from family already in New Zealand, he emigrated in 1981.

mike harrison technical volunteer

For ex-RNZAF Mechanical Transport (MT) driver, Mike Harrison, volunteering in the technical section at the Air Force Museum was top of the list when he retired – he was so keen, in fact, to be back amongst old mates, that he started here on his very first day of retirement, back in 2005.

marylynne tilleyshort museum assistant

With her background as a clerk in the NZ Army, Marylynne is perfectly poised to coordinate a wide range of administrative duties at the Museum, from running our busy Museum Headquarters reception, to liaising with our colleagues at Vbase.

Pedro Nelson Barista

Pedro Nelson

While they may be employed by Vbase, our Contact Café staff have become an integral part of our team here at the Museum, which is why we’re keen to include their stories in our ‘Meet our People’ profiles too. First up is Pete Nelson, commonly known as Pedro, whose official job title at our Café is ‘Barista A’ – in other words, he’s ‘the main man’ for coffee!

Cliff Waites Audiovisual volunteer

Cliff Waites

When Cliff Waites signed up as a volunteer back in 2005, he offered his services in not one, but two areas – both as a guide, and also as a volunteer assistant for our Audiovisual (AV) Technician, David Nicholson. With his background as an instrument assistant/avionics technician, Cliff is certainly well qualified for the latter!

Kevin Feary Technical Volunteer

Kevin Leary

“The pay’s not great, but it’s the best job I’ve ever had!”, says technical volunteer, Kevin Feary. Brought up in Hornby, with both a passion for and the sound of aircraft all around, Kevin came to an open day at the Museum many years ago and saw the, then, unrestored Airspeed Oxford. His first thought was, “I’d love to work on that one day”, and so he did.

emma johnson registrar

Emma Johnson

When Emma Meyer (now Johnson) first started at the Museum as a collections technician back in February 2009, it was only meant to be for a few months’ maternity cover. Ten years and several different contracts later, however, Emma is one of our longest-serving Collections staff members, and an integral part of our team. As our Registrar, she is the first port of call for anyone looking to donate material to our collection.

Alan Dower Volunteer Guide

Alan Dower_Volunteer Guide

Retired plumber Alan Dower has certainly had an eventful life. From being evacuated from London as a child during World War Two, a stint of National Service in the RAF, and 15 years working in Hong Kong, where he also served with the Auxiliary Police Helicopter Observer Squadron, he now spends his Wednesdays volunteering as a guide here at the Museum.

evelyn robertson archives volunteer

Evelyn Robertson

It was an encounter at a meeting of her local branch of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists over ten years ago which led retired librarian Evelyn Robertson to begin volunteering in the archives here at the Air Force Museum.

Brett Marshall Director

Air Force Museum - Anzac Day

Wing Commander Brett Marshall’s recent appointment to the role of permanent Director of the Air Force Museum of new Zealand has heralded a new chapter in our Museum’s history. For Brett, meanwhile, returning to Wigram has brought his Air Force career full circle.

Al Woodley Technical Volunteer

Al Woodley

In 1986, RNZAF airframe fitter, Alan (Al) Woodley, took the opportunity for a posting to Wigram, to help get the RNZAF Museum ready for its grand opening the following year. There aren’t many people on our team today who have had such a long association with the Museum, or as much experience restoring historic aircraft as Al, and we're lucky to still have him on board as a volunteer.

Rhys Evans Volunteer guide

Rhys Evans

While visiting Wigram airfield to board a commemorative DC-3 flight in 2006, Rhys was encouraged by a colleague, firstly, to visit the Air Force Museum and, secondly, to become a volunteer guide here. Some 13 years later, Rhys has established himself as a valuable member of the Thursday guiding team, sharing his passion and knowledge with visitors from far and wide.


Salvage of Maritime Operational Conversion Unit Sunderland, NZ4111, after it was holed and sank in Te Whanga Lagoon, Chatham Islands.
The Sunderland lying low in the water.

Sunderland NZ4111 and the Chatham Islands incident


Many a Close Run Thing

Vernon, a collection management system on a tablet. Image: Air Force Museum of New Zealand.

Archives: past, present and future

Open daily from 10am to 5pm (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