The Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum is primarily a museum of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, its predecessor, the New Zealand Permanent Air Force and New Zealand squadrons of the Royal Air Force. The main site is at its first base, Wigram in Christchurch, in the South Island. A second site at the modern base of Ohakea, near Bulls, in the North Island was temporarily closed in May 2007 to enable construction of hangars for the NH90 helicopter fleet. Both sites contain other exhibits such as ground vehicles, AV displays, flight simulators and models. The Wigram site contains a significant collection of aviation painting.
Other collections of RNZAF aircraft are at the Museum of Transport and Technology at Western Springs, Auckland, the Alpine Fighter Museum at Wanaka and with the New Zealand War Birds.
- Auster Mk 7c (Antarctic) (restored)
- New Zealand used Austers for army co-operation work in the immediate post-war period. They were fitted with floats and, in this case, skis. This aircraft accompanied the Hillary Fuchs Trans-Antarctic Expedition, and has been restored to this configuration.
- A development of the Avro Tutor biplane trainer, the Prefect featured a third cockpit with scarf ring, and was designed to enable training of any aircrew position. This aircraft was restored to flying condition in the 1980s.
- Avro Anson (restored, a generic composite of several aircraft).
- Developed from a mail plane as a maritime patrol aircraft, New Zealand acquired a small number of Ansons early in World War II for use as navigation trainers, supplementing the Airspeed Oxford. A small number of more advanced model Ansons were used for communications work after the war.
- An armed version of the Jet Provost trainer, itself a jet version of the radial-engine Provost, the Strikemaster, or 'Blunty' was intended for COIN operations, but used by the RNZAF as an advanced trainer in the 1970s and 1980s.
- Bell UH-1 Iroquois (generic conversion to NZ standard of a US UH-1H).
- A ubiquitous transport, New Zealand acquired UH1Ds in 1965, and subsequently added UH1Hs. New Zealand Iroquois pilots have served in Vietnam, the Sinai, Antarctica and East Timor.
- New Zealand's first military aircraft, two Bleriots arrived in 1913, but were grounded after a pilot gave a joyride to a young lady. They were despatched to Mesopotamia on the outbreak of World War I. Replica.
- The slow but capacious freighters of the RNZAF and SAFE Air were familiar sights in the New Zealand sky for nearly 50 years. The RNZAF machines were reliable workhorse freighters and also took part in topdressing trials, flew stranded passengers across Cook Strait and travelled as far as Vietnam.
- Cessna 0-2A-CE (restorated to generic representation of Vietnam FAC standard).
- This machine was flown by RNZAF FAC pilots attached to the United States Air Force in Vietnam, and later donated by the USAF.
- Manufactured in Wellington at Rongotai, the Tiger Moth was the RNZAF's primary trainer throughout World War II and formed the basis of the topdressing industry in the immediate post-war years. Many remain in flying condition.
- New Zealand's first jet fighter procured in numbers, the wooden Vampire was first used by the RNZAF in Cyprus. It survived into the early 1970s as a trainer, the DH115 being displayed in a tableau undergoing maintenance. The Alpine Fighter Collection has another RNZAF machine on loan, which it is restoring to fly.
- Replacement for the Anson, the Devon is a militarised version of the De Havilland Dove, used as a navigation and multi engine trainer. Another ex-RNZAF machine remains airworthy in private hands.
- Equipped to represent the aircraft that assisted Sir Edmund Hillary in the first land crossing to the South Pole since Scott. A privately owned Beaver is also painted as this famous aircraft, the original being written off in a crash in Antarctica.
- An ex-World War II RNZAF transport, later converted by 42 Squadron as a VIP transport for use by Queen Elizabeth II during her 1956 New Zealand visit - it has been returned to this livery for display.
- Used briefly against the Japanese by No. 25 Squadron RNZAF from island bases, the Dauntless dive bomber was quickly retired in favour of the Corsair. This aircraft was lost during a training flight near Espiritu Santo, and is displayed as it was found in the jungle.
- used by the RNZAF in action in Malaya, the Canberra was a replacement for the De Havilland Mosquito. On display is an ex Royal Australian Air Force machine displayed in RAAF colours. A genuine RNZAF machine is awaiting restoration, gifted by the Indian Air force (who acquired New Zealand's Canberras when they were retired).
- Apart from the US and the RN, New Zealand was the only World War II user of the Avenger. This aircraft is restored as it appeared in a forward base during the Pacific war. In the post war period it was used for target towing, communications and aerial topdressing trials.
- A STOL transport developed from an airliner, New Zealand's Andovers saw service with the UN on the Iran-Iraq border and in Somalia as well as flying throughout the South Pacific.
- SH-2Fs were leased as WASP replacements aboard the RNZN's Anzac class frigates, until SH-2Gs were delivered. They saw service in East Timor and helped catch poachers in the sub Antarctic waters.
- New Zealand's only modern aircraft at the time of Japanese attacks, Hudsons were used to hunt for German surface raiders after the RNZAF's Wellington bombers (Mk 1)were committed to Europe. On the outbreak of war with Japan, aircraft went forward to operate as patrol bombers from Fiji. They remained active throughout the South Pacific until replaced by Lockheed Venturas. This aircraft is restored in its early war colour scheme when operated by No. 4 Squadron RNZAF. Another restored example is at the Museum of Transport and Technology. An unrestored small section of fuselage is outside the Ohakea museum.
- McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk (conversion to generic early A4K standard)
- New Zealand purchased Skyhawks in 1969 and operated them for 30 years, updating the aircraft with APG 66 radar and F-16 avionics. All ex-RNZAF aircraft were sold, the Christchurch machine being an early US model, converted to the standard of an A4K in the early 1970s. Another TA4K, built entirely from spare parts to standards of the Kahu Skyhawks when retired, is displayed at Ohakea.
- Used by the RNZAF as a trainer from 1941 until 1976, two Harvards are preserved at Wigram, one in camouflage adopted after the Japanese attack, another, as gate guardian, in an all-yellow scheme. (many others remain in New Zealand)
- North American P-51 Mustang (generic restoration to 1950s RNZAF standard)
- The Corsair's replacement during 1945 as the RNZAF's main fighter in the Pacific, Mustangs arrived too late to see active service, but were used in the immediate post-war period by part-time Territorial Air Force squadrons. The machine displayed is a former Indonesian Mustang which did not serve with the RNZAF but is displayed as one of the Auckland Squadron. (Another, in Canterbury colours, flies in private hands).
- New Zealand's indigenous military trainer, the CT4A was bought by the Royal Thai Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force, before the RNZAF ordered the slightly upgraded B. Highly aerobatic, cheap and reliable, the type continues in production; more modern CT4s have been the replacement for the RNZAF, Thailand and many of the private contractors who took over RAAF primary training. Many fly in private hands.
- Painted in the colours of a WWI New Zealand ace.
- Displayed under camouflage netting and painted as a No. 485 Squadron RNZAF aircraft operating from inside Germany immediately prior to VE day. This aircraft spent many years on a plinth before being restored. Another Mk XVIE is on display at the Auckland War Memorial Museum
- Used by the RNZN from Leander and Anzac frigates, the Wasp was New Zealand's first naval helicopter. Another Wasp is on display at MoTaT.
(Stored since May 2007)
Under restoration for the Museum
- New Zealand's first Oxfords were delivered immediately before World War II. Two hundred and twenty-nine were used for multi-engine and gunnery training during that conflict. This machine, on long term loan from Canada, was used post war as an Airspeed Consul. A privately owned ex-RNZAF Oxford is also being restored to flying condition.
- Rescued from fire training, this aircraft was stored at MoTaT before being presented to the RNZAF. It is to receive major restoration.
- The RNZAF deployed 297 Kittyhawks in the Pacific and claimed 99 Japanese aircraft destroyed. Restoration of this aircraft is nearly complete; built as a P40F, it has been converted to P40E standard in an early war livery.
- New Zealand operated 39 of the giant Vildebeest and 60 of the practically identical Vincent biplanes for coastal defence from 1935. They also played a role in aerial photography of the country. At the outbreak of war the Vildebeests and Vincents were converted to cumbersome pilot trainers, but the threat of German raiders and later the Japanese saw several briefly rearmed. This aircraft is based on NZ302, but incorporates material from three other airframes recovered from crash sites and dumps and some replica sections. Another Vincent, NZ311, is being restored in Auckland.
Aircraft formerly held by the Museum
A large collection of former RNZAF aircraft is on display at the Museum of Transport and Technology
in Auckland. Some airworthy aircraft are with the Alpine Fighter Collection
/ New Zealand Fighter Pilots Museum at Wanaka
. The New Zealand War Birds
members fly the following;