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Air Force Museum Blog

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

By Jason Sim | 10/09/2019

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

By Matthew O'Sullivan | 07/08/2019

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

By Air Force Museum | 04/07/2019

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

By Louisa Hormann | 07/06/2019

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

By Simon Moody | 05/06/2019

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

By David Watmuff | 09/05/2019

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

Tweets from our Archives

By Air Force Museum | 29/04/2019

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

By Simon Moody | 17/04/2019

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

By Michelle Sim | 08/03/2019

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

By Air Force Museum | 11/01/2019

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

By Eleanor King | 06/12/2018

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

By Air Force Museum | 04/12/2018

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

By Matthew O'Sullivan | 03/12/2018

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

By Jason Sim | 29/11/2018

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

By Simon Moody | 14/11/2018

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 Simon Moody | 02/11/2018

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

By Michelle Sim | 30/10/2018

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

By Michelle Sim | 02/10/2018

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

By Arielle Heslop | 20/09/2018

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

By Moya Montgomery | 24/08/2018

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

By Louisa Hormann | 22/08/2018

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

By Brian Lockstone | 08/08/2018

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

By Louisa Hormann | 07/08/2018

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

By Jason Sim | 02/08/2018

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

By Emma Johnson | 01/08/2018

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

By Chris Davey | 30/07/2018

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

By Louisa Hormann | 12/07/2018

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

By Murray McGuigan | 07/07/2018

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

By Louisa Hormann | 19/06/2018

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

By Simon Moody | 13/06/2018

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…

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