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The Air Force Museum of New Zealand, formerly called The Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum, is located at Wigram, the RNZAF's first operational base, in Christchurch, in the South Island of New Zealand. It opened on 1 April 1987 as part of the celebrations for the RNZAF's 50th anniversary, 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 Air Force 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.

The Museum is free admission. Visitors can take a half-hour guided tour through 'behind the scenes' areas of the Museum, which includes the Reserve Collection hangar. The Museum's most recent restoration project, an Airspeed Oxford, is now on public display since February 2016. The Museum also has a Mosquito Flight Simulator, which features a mission based on the Allied bombing of German battleships in the Norwegian fiords.


Jet trainer and light attack aircraft retired 2001.
  • Airspeed Oxford (a Canadian airframe converted to civilian use post-war, and reconverted by the Museum).
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 Scarff 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.
Helicopter trainer entered service in 1965.
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.
  • Boeing 727 NZ 7272 (forward fuselage, engine, main undercarriage).
Three Boeing 727s were acquired by the RNZAF in 1980. Operated by 40 Squadron RNZAF the 727 was replaced by the 757. NZ7272 was then used as a ground training aid until 2009 and made available to the museum. The museum did not have the space to store the whole aircraft undercover nor the ability to transport the whole airframe. In 2019 it was broken up by Airbus, with the forward fuselage, an engine and main undercarriage being transported through the Lewis Pass to the Museum.[1]
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.
Display painted to represent aircraft flown by New Zealand pilots on attachment to United States Air Force during Vietnam War.
Restored to represent an RNZAF P-40E in the Pacific theatre of operations.
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.
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.
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.
This aircraft was gifted to the museum by the RAAF in 1984 to be displayed as a type example; it is very similar to the B2s first used by the RNZAF in Malaya. Another later model is in storage awaiting restoration.
Grumman Avenger
Display painted in its original colours as NZ2504.
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.
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.
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.
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 restorationEdit


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