air mails of new zealand

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THE INTERNAL FLIGHTS


1920, 17-18 February

CHRISTCHURCH-ASHBURTON-TIMARU FLIGHT

By Canterbury (NZ) Aviation Co Ltd. piloted by Captain Euan Dickson flying an Avro 504K. The flight from Sockburn Aerodrome, Christchurch to Ashburton was made on the 17th carrying two passengers, a bundle of the 'SPECIAL AIR DELIVERY NUMBER' of the "Lyttelton Times" and a letter from the Mayor of Christchurch to the Mayor of Ashburton. The flight from Ashburton to Timaru was continued the next day and it is known one letter to a Timaru address was handed to Captain Dickson just before take-off.


1920, 24 February

AUCKLAND-THAMES AND RETURN

By Walsh Bros. & Dexter Ltd. Boeing seaplane piloted by George B. Bolt. This trial flight carried a Mr. Williamson of the Post and Telegraph Department as a passenger together with a small mail. The seaplane left Auckland at 10.30 am and landed at Thames at 11.15am. The return flight began at 1.19pm but because of the rough seas a landing was made at Stanley Bay with the mail being taken on to Auckland by car. No air mail fee was charged and no cachets were applied.


1920, 1 March

AUCKLAND-WHANGAREI AND RETURN

Trial flight by Walsh Bros. & Dexter Ltd. Boeing seaplane piloted by George B. Bolt. The Boeing left Auckland at 10.22am and reached Onerahi at 11.40am from where the mail was taken by car the 5 miles to Whangarei. The return flight departed at 2.51pm and arrived at Auckland at 4.11pm. No air mail fee was charged on letters and no cachets were used.


1920, 4 March

AUCKLAND-WHANGAREI AND RETURN

Second trial flight by Walsh Bros. & Dexter Ltd. Boeing seaplane piloted by George B. Bolt was aimed at testing the feasibility of air dropping bags of mail at selected points along the route. The Boeing left Auckland at 10.10am and reached Whangarei at 11.26am after dropping a bag containing mail and newspapers at Whangarei, The return flight left the Railway Bridge near Whangarei at 2.30pm and landed at Auckland at 4.17.


1920, 8 March

AUCKLAND-DARGAVILLE TRIAL FLIGHT

By Walsh Bros. & Dexter Ltd. Boeing seaplane piloted by George B. Bolt which left Auckland at 10 am and arrived at Dargaville at 11.50 after dropping a bag of mail at Ruawai. The seaplane left Dargaville at 2.10pm on the return flight and landed at Auckland at 4.20. No extra air mail fee was charged and no cachets were used.


1920, 11 March

AUCKLAND-DARGAVILLE AND RETURN

Second trial flight by Walsh Bros. & Dexter. The seaplane left Auckland at 10.00am and after dropping a bag containing mail and newspapers at Ruawai, flew on to land at Dargaville at 12.50. On the return flight the aircraft left Dargaville at 2.08pm and reached Auckland at 3.35. No extra postage was charged on the air mail letters and no cachets were applied.


1920, 12 - 15 March

AUCKLAND-OPOTIKI AND RETURN

Special Charter flight by Rt Rev. H.W. Cleary, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Auckland to visit outlying parts of his diocese. The Walsh Bros. & Dexter Ltd Boeing seaplane piloted by George B. Bolt left Auckland at 7.16am on the 12th and reached Port Charles at 8.00am where a mail bag was dropped before flying on to land at Tauranga at 9.35. The flight continued and arrived at Whakatane at 2.10pm and on to arrive at Opotiki at 2.25. On the following day the Boeing left Opotiki at 9.25am reaching Whakatane at 9.47 and after a short stop, flew on to land at Tauranga at 1.08 pm. The Bishop remained in Tauranga until the 15th when the flight was resumed at 6.48am and landed at Auckland at 9.15am. The Bishop had invited the Post Office to forward mail on his flight and no airmail fee was charged or cachets applied.


1920, 16 March

AUCKLAND-THAMES AND RETURN

Second trial flight by Walsh Bros & Dexter Ltd Boeing seaplane piloted by George B. Bolt The flight left Auckland at 10.00am, landing at Thames 50 minutes later with the return flight taking off at 1.08pm and arriving at Auckland at 2.00pm. Again no extra air mall fee was charged and no cachets were applied.


1920, 19 March

AUCKLAND-WHANGAREI AND RETURN.

Walsh Bros & Dexter Ltd. third trial flight using a Boeing seaplane piloted by George B. Bolt. The Boeing left Auckland at 10.50am and reached Whangarei at 11.55am. The return flight took off at 3.00pm and returned to Auckland at 4.10pm. No extra air mail fee was charged and no cachets were used.


1920, 31 March - 3 April

AUCKLAND-DARGAVILLE AND RETURN

The third trial flight by Walsh Bros. & Dexter Ltd with the Boeing seaplane piloted by George B. Bolt; the mail being airdropped at Kaiwaka, Matakohe, and Ruawai on the outward flight. On landing at Dargaville one of the Boeing's floats was damaged and the return flight was delayed until 3 April while repairs were made. Mail was not carried on the return flight to Auckland.


1920, 9-10 April

AUCKLAND-AWANUI AND RETURN

Colonel Allen Bell chartered a Walsh Bros. & Dexter Ltd. Boeing piloted by George B. Bolt. On the 9th they flew Auckland-Russell-Whangaroa-Unahi-Mangonui and then to a landing at Unahi on the Awanui River from whence mails were conveyed by car the short distances to Awanui and Kaitaia. The plane then flew from Awanui to Russell and after an overnight stopover, the flight was resumed on the 10th when they flew directly from Russell to Auckland. At Kaitaia a special cachet reading 'VIA SEAPLANE' was applied in black. A special cover had been printed at Mangonui with the intention mail would be picked up on the return flight to Auckland but when no landing was made, the mail was taken to Dargaville by car where letters were backstamped.


1920, 12-13 April

AUCKLAND-KAWHIA AND RETURN

Bishop Cleary chartered a Walsh Bros & Dexter Ltd Boeing seaplane piloted by George B Bolt. Again the Bishop had offered to carry mail on the flight for the Post Office and no extra postage was charged and no cachets were applied. The Boeing left Auckland at 7.00am and dropped a bag of mail at Raglan although the plane also landed there at 8.29. The flight arrived at Kawhia at 8.59am and remained there until the following day when it flew to Raglan, arriving at 10.02am. The flight resumed at 1.30 pm and stopped briefly at Waiuku before continuing to Auckland, landing at 3.55pm. No mail was carried from Waiuku.


1920, 14 April

AUCKLAND-WHANGAREI AND RETURN

By Walsh Bros. & Dexter Ltd Boeing seaplane piloted by George B. Bolt. The flight left Auckland at 10.00am and landed at Whangarei at 11.23. The return flight left at 2.15pm. reaching Auckland at 3.38. No extra air mail fee was charged or cachets applied.


1920, 16 April

AUCKLAND-WHANGAREI AND RETURN

By Walsh Bros. & Dexter Ltd. Boeing seaplane piloted by George B. Bolt. This was the fifth and final trial flight on this route and again no extra postage was charged on letters or cachets used.


1920, 21 May

CHRISTCHURCH-MOUNT COOK

(Interrupted flight) Canterbury (NZ) Aviation Co Ltd. Avro 504K piloted by Captain Euan Dickson was chartered by R.L Wigley to survey a proposed NZ Aero Transport Co. air service between Timaru and Mount Cook. The Avro flew from Christchurch to Fairlie but after leaving Fairlie for Mt Cook, Captain Dickson was forced to abandon the flight because of the severe turbulence. Copies of the "Lyttelton Times" were picked up at Fairlie for Mt Cook Hermitage. Some souvenir cards had been prepared at the Hermitage for the return flight but these were not flown, although some went through the usual post.


1920, 17 June

GISBORNE-TOKOMARU BAY

Walsh Bros. & Dexter Ltd. Airco D.H.6 flown by Captain R. Russell from Auckland to Gisborne landing on the Makaraka Racecourse, and from there flew on to land on the beach at Tokomaru Bay. The Gisborne Postmaster had consented to allow a mail to be flown and a cachet reading 'Per Aeroplane' was applied in violet ink. Russell then returned to Gisborne.


1920, 19-20 June

GISBORNE-NAPIER FLIGHT

By Walsh Bros. & Dexter Ltd Airco D.H.6 piloted by George B. Bolt who took over the plane used by Captain R. Russell on 17 June. The flight left Gisborne at 11.30am but was forced to land at Waikari with engine trouble. The flight was completed on the next day. The cachet 'Per Aeroplane' was applied to letters but no extra air mail fee was charged.


1920, 21-24 July

AUCKLAND-WHANGAREI AND RETURN

Walsh Bros. & Dexter Ltd, Boeing Seaplane piloted by George B. Bolt. This was the third charter flight by Bishop Cleary who again offered to carry mail for the Post Office on the flight. After leaving Auckland the plane landed at Pouto but shortly after resuming was forced to land near Opononi from where the Boeing was towed to Rawene where the mails for Rawene and Kohukohu were landed. After repairs the flight resumed the next day (22nd.) and after landing at Kohukohu, continued to Whangarei where it remained until the morning of the 24th. On 24 June the Boeing flew from Whangarei to Auckland. Special envelopes were printed by the Hokianga County Council and flown from Rawene to Auckland.


1920, 15 August

CHRISTCHURCH-WELLINGTON FIRST COOK STRAIT FLIGHT

Canterbury (NZ) Aviation Co Ltd. Avro 504K, D6243, flown by Captain Euan Dickson left Christchurch at 7am. and after short stops at Kaikoura and Blenheim, landed at the Trentham Racecourse near Wellington at 2.10pm. The Post Office reported 'fairly large mails' but numbers were not recorded.


1920, 28 August

WELLINGTON-BLENHEIM-CHRISTCHURCH

Return flight of the Canterbury (NZ) Aviation Co Ltd Avro 504K, D6243, piloted by Captain Euan Dickson left Trentham Racecourse at 3.20pm and landed at Blenheim at 4.25. At Blenheim stormy weather prevented further progress and the Christchurch mail was eventually sent on by car on 31 August. Letters received an 'AERIAL POST' cachet in purple at Wellington but no extra postage was charged.


1920, 4-6 September

BLENHEIM-KAIKOURA-CHRISTCHURCH

Flight by Canterbury (NZ) Aviation Co. Ltd. Avro 504K D6243 flown by Captain Euan Dickson. In spite of the continued bad weather, Captain Dickson decided to resume his flight to Christchurch and left Blenheim at 10.43am on 4th September and landed at Kaikoura at 11.54 where adverse conditions prevented any further progress. At 10.00am on the 6th he flew from Kaikoura and landed at Sockburn Aerodrome, Christchurch at 11.55am. The mail from Blenheim for Kaikoura and Christchurch was stamped with the same cachet as had been used in Wellington - 'AERIAL POST' - in blue while that from Kaikoura for Christchurch was stamped in green with the cachet 'Per AERIAL POST'.


1920, 19 October

WANGANUI TO HASTINGS

By Walsh Bros & Dexter Avro 504K F9745 flown by Captain R. Russell who arranged with the Wanganui Postmaster to fly the mail. He left Wanganui at 10.00am and reached Dannevirke at 12.07 and took off again at 1.12 pm, arriving at Hastings at 2.10. The mail was stamped with the cachet 'PER AEROPLANE' in reddish-mauve at Wanganui and was backstamped at Hastings.


1921, 31 January - 7 April

CHRISTCHURCH-ASHBURTON-TIMARU AND VICE VERSA

Weekday service by Canterbury (NZ) Aviation Co. with an Avro 504K. This was an experimental service requested by the NZ. Air Board. The inaugural flights were made by Captain Euan Dickson with some later flights flown by Captain F.W. Crawford, Captain D.W. Gray, and Lieutenant R.N. Hawker. A rubber cachet made from moveable type reading 'Aerial Mail' was applied in purple black ink on Christchurch mail on the 31 January. This was then replaced by a cachet similar to that used at Wellington on the first air mail to Christchurch, reading 'AERIAL POST!' and applied in inks from purple to black. An airmail fee of 6d for letters not exceeding 2 ounces was charged.


1921, 9 May-30 July

AUCKLAND-WHANGAREI

Regular week day service by Walsh Bros. & Dexter Ltd inaugurated by George B. Bolt with a Supermarine Channel flying boat. Captain A. Upham and Mr Vivian Walsh joined as pilots on the service which was established on the recommendation of the N.Z. Air Board. Cachets were applied to mail in purple at Auckland, reading 'Per Aerial Post' while two different cachets were used at Whangarei-"PER AERIAL POST and 'Per Aerial Post'.


1921, 18 November

NELSON TO WELLINGTON

Special interrupted flight by Canterbury (NZ) Aviation Co De Havilland DH9 piloted by Lieutenant H.N. Hawker. After obtaining the sanction of the Postmaster at Nelson to carry mail, arrangements were made to make a special flight from Nelson to Wellington. The flight left Nelson at 10.05 am but high winds forced it to land at Blenheim at 11.25. The turbulence continued the following day and the DH9 returned to Nelson abandoning the flight. A fairly heavy mail was reported of approximately 200 letters and a number of parcels, but no examples have been recorded.


1922, 31 May

HELENSVILLE-AUCKLAND SPECIAL FLIGHT

By Walsh Bros & Dexter Ltd Boeing seaplane piloted by George B. Bolt to convey official letters from the Hon J.G. Coates MP. Letters have the official frank of the Minister of Public Works or the Postmaster General with the Helensville postmark of 30 May, 22.8 and the endorsement 'Per Seaplane' in red ink in the top left corner.

Overseas Flights: 1928, 10 Jan. / 1928, 10-11 Sept. / 1928, 13-14 Oct.



1929, 18 June

CHRISTCHURCH-WESTPORT: KARAMEA EARTHQUAKE EMERGENCY FLIGHT

By Captain M.W. Buckley of the N.Z Permanent Air Force. A severe earthquake on the 17th had cut communications to the West Coast (South Island) and the Christchurch Post and Telegraph Department requested the Air Force to fly to the area and assess the damage. Captain Buckley flew from the Wigram Aerodrome to Westport in a DH6O Moth on the morning of 18 June returning to Christchurch in the afternoon. A few letters were carried in each direction with M.W. Buckley signing the cover.


1929, 21-22 June

KARAMEA EARTHQUAKE EMERGENCY FLIGHTS

Following the report of Captain M.W. Buckley, the Air Force ordered Captain H.B. Burrell to fly from Wigram to Westport in a DH Moth to assist in relief in the Karamea area. Flights were made on the 21st and 22nd from Westport to Karamea and returning in the afternoon but during the night of the 22nd the aircraft was damaged in a storm at Westport. Very few letters were carried on these flights.


1929, 1-2-3 July

KARAMEA EARTHQUAKE EMERGENCY FLIGHTS

Were resumed on 1 July after repairs to the aircraft when Captain Burrell flew to Karamea in the morning and returned to Westport in the afternoon. On the 2nd he again flew to Karamea but damaged a wing on landing and did not return to Westport until the next day. Again very few letters were carried but most were signed by Burrell.


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The information used on this site has been sourced
from the following three publications:


"THE AIR MAILS OF NEW ZEALAND, Volume One,
THE INTERNAL FLIGHTS"
(1897-1955)
by DOUGLAS A. WALKER

"AIRMAILS OF NEW ZEALAND, Volume Two,
THE OVERSEAS FLIGHTS
1928-1940"
by DOUGLAS A. WALKER

"THE NEW ZEALAND AIRMAIL CATALOGUE" Third Edition, 2009
(editor: Mike Shand) Author JAMES A. STAPLETON


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO THE PUBLISHER

Kind permission for their material to be used on this website
has been granted by:

THE AIR MAIL SOCIETY OF NEW ZEALAND Inc,
Box 29-144, Fendalton,
Christchurch,
New Zealand

Air Mail Society of New Zealand website

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