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Venue | Air Force Museum

The Air Force Museum of New Zealand holds the national collection of the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF). The Museum's role is to preserve and present the history of New Zealand's military aviation through its collection. The collection is very diverse and 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. The collection is owned by the RNZAF Museum Trust Board.

Exhibitions and Displays

In addition to preserving New Zealand's military aviation history, the Collections team is also responsible for presenting exhibitions and displays which illustrate various aspects of the RNZAF's history. This includes the semi-permanent displays in the Atrium and the Mezzanine, the Horizon Gallery and the Aircraft Hall.In addition to the semi-permanent displays, the Museum provides two changing exhibitions each year in the Cochrane Gallery.

Conservation and Restoration

The Museum undertakes preservation and conservation of objects in its collection. The general principle we apply is one of minimum intervention. Wherever possible objects are stabilised and maintained in an 'as is' condition, rather than subject them to intervention measures that are irreversible. Large objects such as aircraft and vehicles will usually be displayed in an 'as in service' condition so that their identity is maintained. Removing corrosion, however, is a necessity and this may require intervention in the form of restoration or reconstruction. However, every attempt is made to preserve or use original material wherever possible.


The Museum holds the pre-eminent collection of New Zealand military aircraft. Although there are other museums in New Zealand which hold military aircraft, none do so in an Air Force context for the sole purpose of presenting the story of the New Zealand men and women who have given service to the nation in military air forces. 21 aircraft are on display in the main Museum complex, with a further 11 in storage in 3 Hangar.

Large Objects

While the aircraft are among the Museum's largest and most significant items, the collection also includes other large and important objects such as a 14.5 metre marine launch used to service the RNZAF's former flying boats. A barrack block, Block 7, built in 1917 was used to house trainee pilots at Sir Henry Wigram's private flying school at Sockburn. This block is considered to be the oldest aviation-related building in New Zealand. This collection also includes fire engines, tankers, cranes, aircraft recovery trailer (Queen Mary) and cargo vehicles.

The Air Force Museum
45 Harvard Ave
Wigram Park 8140
Christchurch, New Zealand

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