RNZAF Museum - Wigram

The Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum located at Wigram, Christchurch, is New Zealand's premier aviation museum. The winner of a New Zealand Tourism Award, it not only has an excellent range of aircraft from WWI through to the present day, but the displays contain some excellent artefacts. For viewing you need to allow at least three or so hours to see everything. The museum is open daily from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm and can be found on the main road south from the city near the Sockburn roundabout. Just look out for the Harvard mounted on a pole near the entrance.

The aircraft are presented here chronologically from when they first entered service with the RNZAF or there was an association with the type.


Bleriot XL-2 Monoplane
80-HP GNOME

This replica Bleriot XL-2 Monoplane represents the first military aircraft owned by the New Zealand government. The original was gifted by the Imperial Air Fleet Committee in England. It arrived in New Zealand on 29 September 1913. It first flew in Auckland, where several flights were made over the city between 17 and 28 January 1914. The pilot, Joe Hammond, was dismissed at this point after carrying an a woman passenger without authorisation. When war broke out, it was crated up and sent back to England in October 1914.

Sopwith Pup

Vickers Vildebeeste III
660-HP Bristol Pegasus 11 M3

The Vildebeeste was a large single-engine biplane that sported a large 12 ft diameter propeller. They first arrived in New Zealand in April-June 1935. The example under restoration at Wigram is the only survivor known worldwide.

Avro 626
277-HP Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah V

Airspeed Oxford 1
2 x 375-HP Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah X

The RNZAF owned 299 Airspeed Oxfords, the first of which arrived in New Zealand in July 1938. The aircraft shown here is a Consul that was acquired from Canada. It is being restored to represent a New Zealand aircraft and the passenger windows have been removed.

De Havilland DH82A Tiger Moth
130-HP DH Gipsy Moth

The Tiger Moth was the ab-initio trainer used by the RNZAF at the start of WWII. In all 335 aircraft were used to train pilots.

Supermarine Spitfire XVI - TE288

Although the Spitfire was never owned by the RNZAF, many New Zealanders were in the RAF at the start of WWII and got to fly the type. With the development of the Empire Air Training Scheme, many more pilots arrived in England after initial training in New Zealand. This aircraft is restored in the camouflage and markings of 'OU-V' "Rongotea" of No. 485 (New Zealand) Squadron, RAF.

North American Harvard
550-HP P&W R-1340-AN 1 Wasp

Avro Anson 1
2 x 350-HP Armstrong Siddeley Cheetah IX

Lockheed Hudson III
2 x 1200-HP Wright Cyclone


Curtiss Kittyhawk
1150-HP Allison V-1710

Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina - 44-34081
2 x 1200-HP P&W R-1830-92 Twin Wasp

The first Catalinas with the RNZAF entered service in April 1943. A total of 56 aircraft were operated between 1943 and 1953. This example was recovered from Papua New Guinea and waits restoration in the museum storage area.

Douglas C-47 Dakota - NZ3551
2 x 1200-HP P&W R-1830-90/92 Twin Wasp

Grumman TBF-1 Avenger - NZ2521
1600-HP Wright Cyclone 14 R-2600-8

North American P-51D Mustang
1450-HP Packhard Merlin V-1650-7

De Havilland DH104 Devon - NZ1803
2 x 345-HP Gipsy Queen 70-3

Thirty of these aircraft were owned by the RNZAF, the first arriving in June 1948. This aircraft is displayed as if it is being serviced.
Bristol 170 Freighter Mk 31M - NZ5903
2 x 1980-HP Bristol Hercules 735

The first Bristol Freighters served with No. 41 Squadron from November 1951 onwards. A total of 12 aircraft served with the RNZAF.
De Havilland DH100 Vampire FB5 - NZ5757
DH Goblin

The first Vampire variant to arrive in New Zealand was the FB52, which was seen in New Zealand skies in 1951.

De Havilland DH115 T55

The first T55 dual trainer Vampires arrived in 1952.

Auster T7c - NZ1707
145-HP DH Gipsy Major VII

De Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver - "NZ6001"
450-HP P&W R-985 Wasp Junior



English Electric Canberra B(I)12
2 x 74000-LB ST Rolls-Royce Avon 109

The first Canberras was delivered in October 1959 and was a replacement for the Vampire as the RNZAF's main jet strike aircraft. A total of 13 aircraft were in RNZAF service.  With the arrival of the Skyhawks in 1970, all the aircraft were sold overseas. This ex-RAF example will be restored to represent the type in New Zealand service.

Bell UH-1D Iroquois
1100-SHP Lycoming T53-L-11

The Iroquois was the second of three types of helicopter that were ordered in 1965. The type is still in service with the RNZAF

Westland Wasp HAS1 - NZ3906
710-SHP Rolls-Royce/Bristol Nimbus 503

This was the first aircraft operated by the Royal New Zealand Navy since WWII.  The first arrived in New Zealand in October 1966.

Cessna O-2 Skymaster

Although this is another type that was not in service with the RNZAF, it is held  in the RNZAF Museum Collection as New Zealand pilots flew th type in Vietnam

McDonnell Douglas A-4K Skyhawk
9300-LB ST P&W 152-P-8A

The A-4 was purchased in 1970 to replace the Canberra.

 BAC167 Strikemaster Mk88 - NZ6373

Purchased as a replacement for Vampires in No.14 Squadron, the Strikemaster first appeared in 1972, two years after the Skyhawk.

Aerospace CT/4B Airtrainer - NZ1943
210-HP Continental IO-360H

This type is still in service with the RNZAF, the first entering service in July 1976.

Hawker Siddeley Andover C1
2 x 3245-ESHP Rolls-Royce Dart 12 Mk201

Bought second-hand from the RAF, these aircraft replaced both the Bristol Freighter and the Douglas Dakota.

Kaman SH-2 Seasprite
General Electric T700-GE-401/401C


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