Monday 3 May 2021

Remembering when - 1954 Taieri

 Taieri in 1954 was still an active RNZAF base - note the Harvard in background and Tiger Moth out the back of the large hangar.

Commercial operations were conducted from near the control tower by the New Zealand National Airways Corporation Ltd (NZNAC, or just NAC).

This photo from Fergus Fraser shows the DH89 ZK-AKY c/n 6653 "Tui" nose on. This is still current on our register with the Croydon Aircraft Company Ltd of Mandeville. 

In the foreground is the DH89 ZK-AKS c/n 6647 "Teoteo" which moved to another operator in 1956 and was written off on Mount Soho on 11-05-1965.

The Douglas DC-3 is ZK-APB c/n 32693/15945 which carried the name "Popotea". It was withdrawn from airline use on 30-06-1965 and converted to a top dresser. Its last flight was on 16-11-1981 by which time it had accrued 41588 airframe hours (7904 of these on Ag  work). Its registration was cancelled on 19-12-1983. It has passed through several owners since. I believe it was parted out around the turn of the century with a portion being used as a cafe in Miramar, Wellington. I noted parts of it listed for sale on Trade Me in late 2013. Where is she now ?


  1. As a youngster growing up in Mosgiel during this time I was fortunate to be able to spend many happy hours in the Taieri tower.(my parents friend was a contoller) Lucky also to sit up in the cockpits of the DC3s when the NAC engineers were doing the early morning/pre flight run ups. The RNZAF Harvards morning formation flights around the same time as the Mosgiel West primary school held assembly and raised the NZ flag saw many of us lose attention of ground "stuff" and look skywards!
    As a teenager I learnt to glide at Taieri with the Otago Gliding Club and did a few hours with the Otago Aero Club.
    This photo, (which features in the book "Flight Path Dunedin" by Jim Sullivan) brings back many great memories - thank you.
    Bill Mannix - Nelson

  2. Evening Bill.

    Don't suppose you had a camera during these days and got lots of photos ?

    I was raised in Dunedin and had my first flight in the Otago Aero Club Auster ZK-BRA about this time then onto the 172 ZK-BPT under Hugh Skilling. Great days. Didn't get into gliding until much later.

    1. Good morning Blue Bus,

      Thanks for your reply to my comments re Taieri. We used to refer to ZKBRA as the ladies aeroplane! I knew Hugh Skilling well,(a true gentleman) flew in BPT a few times and went to school with Keith. I caught up with him at the Masterton Air show with his Classic Aircraft WACO YMF ZKCFL a couple of months ago.
      I only had a box Brownie camera during those days and have a few gliding shots which are pretty average.(B/W) One of myself in Skylark 4 ZKGCY, (which is still on the NZ Register)in which I did my 5 hours Silver C duration leg flight at Taieri, (I may have been the only one to do so at Taieri?) one of the T31 ZKGAP and ASK13 ZKGFC together, and one taken on tow behind Tiger ZKATZ whilst I was on tow flying the T31 towards Mosgiel. These were taken in the late sixties I think....
      Are you able to give me your email address and I will send them to you to use if you wish.


      Bill Mannix

  3. Yo there Bill.
    Yes Hugh was a real gent and a pretty good pilot as well. I recall his Sunday afternoon aerobatic displays in BRA and the 'falling leaf' always impressed me.
    BRA carried the 'Bendon Flyer' name in the 1980's.
    Alas it is no more - being used for parts on a rebuild of another J5F (BBZ I think) at Rangiora.
    Keith was in the Dunedin ATC 5 Squadron at the same time as me.

    Would love to see those pics please.
    Email me at