Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum

Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum
Royal New Zealand Air Force
Ensign of the RNZAF
Aircraft and Squadrons
List of aircraft of the RNZAF and RNZN
List of squadrons of the RNZAF
RNZAF Base Auckland
RNZAF Base Ohakea
RNZAF Base Woodbourne
Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum

The Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum or Air Force Museum of New Zealand as it is now known, is an air force museum located located at Wigram, the RNZAF's first operational base, in Christchurch, in the South Island of New Zealand. It opened on 1 April 1987, the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the RNZAF, and is primarily a museum of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, its predecessor, the New Zealand Permanent Air Force and New Zealand squadrons of the Royal Air Force.

The Wigram museum entrance.

The Air Force Museum of New Zealand's mission is to preserve and present the history of New Zealand military aviation for commemoration, learning, inspiration and enjoyment.

The museum holds the national collection of the Royal New Zealand Air Force. The collection includes objects covering the early days of New Zealand military aviation both prior to World War I and during this major conflict, the interwar years which saw the formation of the RNZAF in 1937, New Zealanders who fought in the RAF and in other Allied air forces during World War II, the RNZAF’s campaign in the Pacific, and the post-war period to the present day. The collection also includes objects from former enemy forces, aircraft, aircraft components, aircraft engines, large objects, textiles, art and memorabilia as well as an extensive paper and photographic archive.

After many years of charging admission the Museum has now moved to free admission. Visitors can take a "Restoration Tour" through 'behind the scenes' areas of the Museum including the Restoration and Reserve Collection hangars. The Museum currently has three aircraft restoration projects; the p-40 Curtiss Kittyhawk, the Airspeed Oxford and the Vicker's Vildebeest. The Museum has also has a Mosquito Flight Simulator, which features a mission based on the Allied bombing of German battleships in the Norwegian fiords.


New Zealand used Austers for army co-operation work in the immediate post-war period. They were fitted with floats and, in this case, skis. This aircraft accompanied the Hillary/Fuchs Trans-Antarctic Expedition, and has been restored to this configuration.
Restored Avro 626 trainer.
A development of the Avro Tutor biplane trainer featuring a third cockpit with scarf ring, and was designed to enable training of all aircrew positions. This aircraft was restored to flying condition in the 1980s by the RNZAF and flew for a period with the RNZAF Historic Flight but is now permanently preserved in the museum.
  • Avro Anson (restored, a composite of several aircraft).
Developed as a maritime patrol aircraft New Zealand acquired a small number of Ansons early in World War II for use as navigation trainers, supplementing the Airspeed Oxford. A small number of more advanced model Ansons were used for communications work after the war.
An armed version of the Jet Provost trainer, itself a jet version of the radial-engine Provost, the Strikemaster, or 'Blunty' was used by the RNZAF as an advanced jet trainer for pilots progressing onto the A4 Skyhawk in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • Bell UH-1 Iroquois (Ex-US Army, display painted as RNZAF aircraft).
New Zealand acquired UH1Ds in 1965, and subsequently added UH1Hs. New Zealand Iroquois pilots have served in Vietnam, the Sinai, Antarctica and East Timor.
New Zealand's first military aircraft the Bleriot arrived in 1913 and was flown in New Zealand for two years before being returned to the United Kingdom in 1915. Replica built by David Comrie of Dunedin.
The Bristol Freighters of the RNZAF were a familiar sight in the New Zealand sky for nearly 26 years. The museum's aircraft was added to the collection after retirement from the RNZAF in early 1978.
  • Cessna 0-2A-CE (On loan from USAF Museum)
Display painted to represent aircraft flown by New Zealand pilots on attachment to United States Air Force during Vietnam War.
Manufactured in Wellington at Rongotai, the Tiger Moth was the RNZAF's primary trainer throughout World War II. The aircraft is display painted as NZ825.
New Zealand's first jet fighter procured in numbers, the Vampire was first used by the RNZAF in Cyprus in the 1950s. It survived into the early 1970s as a trainer.
  • de Havilland Devon DH104 (Ex-RNZAF, NZ1803)
Replacement for the Anson, the Devon is a militarised version of the De Havilland Dove, used as a navigation and multi engine trainer. This aircraft was added to the museum's collection after retirement from the RNZAF.
The DHC-2 Beaver.
The original NZ6001 was one of two antarctic aircraft serving on the ice from 1956 and was lost in an accident on the Beardmore Glacier in January 1960.
  • Douglas C-47B Dakota(ex-RNZAF, NZ3551)
This aircraft was retired from operational flying in late 1977 and flown to Wigram for display in the museum. NZ3551 is displayed exactly as it left VIP service in 1977.
  • English Electric (G.A.F.) Canberra B.20 (type example, ex-RAAF, A84-240)
This aircraft was gifted to the museum by the RAAF in 1984 to be displayed as a type example. A former RNZAF machine donated by the Indian Air Force is in storage awaiting restoration.
Gruman Avenger.
  • Grumman Avenger TBF-1C (Ex-RNZAF, NZ2504, restored)
Display painted as NZ2521.
The museum's aircraft is the sole surviving RNZAF example in New Zealand and was added to the collection after retirement.
Donated to the museum by the Kaman Aircraft Corporation, having been written off as beyond economic repair as the result of an accident whilst in service with the Royal New Zealand Navy.
The Hudson
The museum's aircraft underwent major restoration over many years which involved its complete reconstruction. It is displayed in its 1942 colour scheme.
  • McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk (Three, A4K, TA4K Kahu and an A4C on loan from United States Navy)
The A4K and TA4K are as retired. Prior to their retirement, the A4C was acquired and converted to early RNZAF A4K specification and display painted as NZ6207 an RNZAF aircraft lost in an accident in 1977. As all surviving RNZAF A4s were heavily modified under the Kahu programme in the 1980s the A4C represents the type in its first 15 years of RNZAF use.
  • North American Harvard Mk 3 (Ex-RNZAF, NZ1087, restored)
Display painted as NZ948 of No.2 SFTS Woodbourne 1943.
This ex-Indonesian Air Force aircraft was acquired by the museum in 1985 and is display painted to represent NZ2410 of No.4 Squadron Territorial Air Force, Taieri, 1951-55.
  • Pacific Aerospace CT-4B Airtrainer (Ex-RNZAF, NZ1948)
This aircraft served as an initial flying trainer from 1978 to 1993. It was transferred to the museum for preservation after retirement.
Built by Skysport Engineering in the United Kingdom as a flying replica. The aircraft suffered a crash landing on its maiden flight in 1985. Acquired by the museum in 1995 and display painted as N6460, the aircraft flown by H F Beamish, a New Zealander serving with the Royal Naval Air Service during WWI.
Spitfire TE288.
This aircraft was gifted to the Christchurch Brevet Club in 1963 and for many years stood on a plinth outside their club building. In 1984 the aircraft was replaced with a fibre glass replica and the real aircraft was relocated to the Air Force Museum of New Zealand. The aircraft is display painted as a 485 (NZ) Squadron aircraft. Another Spitfire owned by Brendon Deere is based with the RNZAF historic flight at Ohakea.
Used by the RNZN from Leander and Anzac frigates. The museum's aircraft was added to the collection after retirement.

Under restoration


Transfer of an Aermacchi MB-339CD has been announced.


External links

Coordinates: 43°32′50″S 172°32′51″E / 43.547259°S 172.547589°E / -43.547259; 172.547589

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