Welcome to the home page of our Society. We are a group dedicated
to the research and preservation of New Zealand's extensive aviation
The first 'flights' in this narrow, windy and (in those days) remote
country were showtime events conducted by traveling balloonists in
the last decades of the nineteenth century. No doubt these well-publicised
events sparked many ideas on other forms of aerial adventure, and
lured ingenious locals like Pither, Pearse and Ogilvie into their
experiments with heavier-than-air flight. However, it was those men
who could import the materials and technology from proven overseas
manufacturers who achieved the greatest long-term success.
The Great War of 1914-18 provided the spur for the establishment
of commercial aviation training within the country. This short-lived
boom ended when this incentive was removed, and almost all aviation
activity then ceased until the arrival of Kingsford Smith and the
Southern Cross on the first trans-Tasman flight in 1928.
The tremendous interest and publicity that this event caused, and
the availability of reliable and relatively low-cost light aircraft,
led to the development of the Aero Club movement throughout the country.
This, in turn, provided the seedbed for commercial aviation and the
early airlines. By 1940 the wealthy and brave could travel by flying
boat to Australia.
World War Two saw aviation come of age, and the Air Force trained
about 60,000 men and women in aviation and technical skills. Many took
these skills back into civilian life, and laid the foundations of
the flight training, airline, aerial work and recreational aviation
organisations that have grown successfully since those days.
All these people, places, organisations and the aircraft that they
used have their story to tell. The Aviation Historical Society is
committed to helping them do so, and ensuring that their history is
kept alive. We welcome your interest in our efforts.