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de Havilland DH83 Fox Moth

Built in England and arriving in New Zealand in December 1934, this is one of the oldest aircraft flying in New Zealand.

Initially used on the pioneering West Coast South Island services of Bert Mercers's Air Travel airline, this Fox spent the later war years with the RNZAF before returning to the West Coast in 1948 with the National Airways Corporation.

After a succession of private owners in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, it spent some years in the USA and England before returning to New Zealand in 1997.

Welcome . . .

Welcome to the home page of our Society. We are a group dedicated to the research and preservation of New Zealand's extensive aviation history.

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.

Click here to display a membership application form that you can print out and post or scan and email!

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updated 5May2016