Skip to main content

Air Force marks 85 years of service to New Zealand

The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), Te Tauaarangi o Aotearoa, celebrates its 85th birthday today.

01 April, 2022

On 1 April 1937 the Air Force Act took effect, formally recognising air power as a critical element of the country’s security. In the years since then, the Air Force has served in military operations from World War 2 and other significant conflicts through to peacekeeping missions all over the world.

Air Force personnel have been part of almost every New Zealand Defence Force deployment, and other operations, including the delivery of humanitarian aid and providing support to the work of other Government agencies, such as fisheries patrols and support to Antarctica.

The Chief of Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Clark, said that the diversity of operations has been enormous. 

“We never know what will crop up next, and that has been defining for us – continuously maintaining and honing our skills, to make us a team that can turn its hand and technology to meet whatever challenge we are called upon to face,” he said. 

“The RNZAF story has become interwoven with the story of New Zealand itself. Thousands of Kiwis have served with us over the years. Many of our personnel today are related to people who served before them, and thousands more Kiwis have relatives and friends who served, making the Air Force part of their own life story.

“On this occasion, those of us serving in today’s Air Force, and who are building the Air Force of tomorrow, especially honour all those who have served before us and who made the Air Force what it is today: a Service that all New Zealanders can be proud of.”

Flypast information

Updated at 8.30am, 2 April 2022

Some of our Squadrons are conducting flypasts today and over the weekend in honour of our 85th Birthday. The routes overall cover as much of the country as possible and all the flights are subject to weather conditions and aircraft availability. 

Friday, 1 April 2022

Three-ship Texan aircraft

  • 1020 Hamilton CBD
  • 1040 Taupō
  • 1105 New Plymouth

NH90 and A109 helicopter

Leaving Base Ohakea at 1300 and travelling North to Whanganui and then down to Pukerua Bay, orbiting above the majority of cities/towns/settlements on the way through. 

C-130H(NZ) Hercules aircraft 

Flying around lower North Island, heading South in the afternoon.

P-3K2 Orion aircraft

Leaving Base Auckland around 0930 and travelling over Waiheke Island, Coromandel, Hamilton, Taupō, Rotorua, Tauranga, Te Araroa, Gisborne and Hawke's Bay (approx. 1145).

Saturday, 2 April 2022

C-130H(NZ) Hercules aircraft

Leaving Dunedin approx 1100 and heading North over Palmerston, Oamaru, Omarama, Twizel, Tekapo, Timaru, Geraldine, Ashburton, Darfield, Oxford, Amberly, Hanmer Springs, Cheviot, Kaikōura, Seddon, Blenheim, Picton and Hokio. 

2x SH-2G(I) Seasprite Helicopters

Depart Base Auckland at approximately 1030 flying over Auckland CBD, Silverdale, Snells Beach, Warkworth, Wellsford, Mangawhai Heads, Whangarei, Ngunguru, Helena Bay, Other Bay, Paihia, Bay of Islands, Kaikohe, Kerikeri

Depart Kerikeri at approximately 1400 flying over Taupo Bay, Coopers Beach, Kaitaia, Rawene, Hokianga Harbour Mouth, Dargaville, Helensville and back to Base Auckland 

Sunday, 3 April 2022

C-130H(NZ) Hercules aircraft

Leaving Christchurch at approx 1200 and flying over Ashburton, Timaru, Oamaru, Ranfurly, Alexandra, Cromwell, Queenstown, Lumsden, Te Anau, Tuatapere, Invercargill, Bluff, Gore, Tapanui, Clinton and Balclutha.

Air Force Heritage Flight of NZ (1x Avenger, 2 x T6C Texan II, 1x Spitfire)

  • 0930 Ōhakea
  • 0935 Feilding
  • 0940 Palmerston North
  • 0945 Woodville
  • 0947 Pahiatua
  • 0953 Masterton
  • 1002 Trentham
  • 1005 Lower Hutt
  • 1008 Wellington
  • 1020 Blenheim
  • 1022 Woodbourne
  • 1040 Kaikōura
  • 1105 Amberley
  • 1110 New Brighton
  • 1113 Wigram
  • 1115 Christchurch

  • 1400 Christchurch
  • 1405 Rangiora
  • 1420 Hanmer Springs
  • 1445 Nelson
  • 1513 Paraparaumu
  • 1518 Ōtaki
  • 1522 Levin
  • 1525 Foxton
  • 1530 Ōhakea