air mails of new zealand

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THE INTERNAL FLIGHTS - 1946-1955

Overseas Flights: 1946, 6-28 Mar. / 1946, 6-11 Mar.


1946, 16 March

10TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE COMMENCEMENT OF UNION AIRWAYS OF N.Z. SERVICES

Bad weather disrupted almost all of the Anniversary flights excepting the Dunedin-Christchurch service by the Lockheed Electra ZK-AGJ "Kahu" (Commander PA. Matheson). The weather interrupted the flight from Palmerston North to Wellington and also the Blenheim-Rongotai flight of ZK-AGK "Kaka" (Commander D.G. Campbell), which overshot the Rongotai runway while landing in the storm. No injuries or serious damage resulted. In spite of the disruptions, Dunedin was the only Post Office to apply a cachet to mail - the framed 'AIR SERVICE INTERRUPTED' in purple.


1946, 28 March

INTERRUPTED FLIGHT BY AIR TRAVEL (NZ) LTD. NELSON-WESTPORT

Mail stamped with the framed AIR SERVICE INTERRUPTED cachet in red.

Overseas Flight: 1946, 1 Apr.


1946, 8 April

AUCKLAND-INVERCARGILL REGULAR DAILY SERVICE

Commenced by extending the Union Airways Auckland-Wellington schedule. The Lockheed Lodestar ZK-AIQ "Kotuku" flew Auckland-Wellington-Christchurch-Dunedin-Invercargill-Dunedin on 8 April. On the 9th the aircraft flew Dunedin-Christchurch-Wellington-Auckland.

Overseas Flights: 1946, 1-2 May / 1946, 30 May / 1946, 6-7 June / 1946, 6 June / 1946, 17 July


1946, 21-24 August

VISIT OF THE AVRO LANCASTER PD328 "Aries"

(Squadron Leader J.E. Aldridge) of the Empire Air Navigation School, RAF Shawbury, on a long distance navigational exercise. The visit was also treated as a "Goodwill Flight" as the U.K. Minister of Food had written a letter of gratitude to the Prime Minister of New Zealand thanking him for support in the "Food For Britain" campaign. This letter was reprinted in the form of a leaflet, copies of which were dropped from the Lancaster over several cities. "Aries" made the flight from the U.K. to N.Z. in 59 hours 51 minutes. The modified Lancaster flew over Wellington before landing at RNZAF Station, Ohakea.

Overseas Flight: 1946, 25 Aug.


NOTE: By an Act of Parliament the New Zealand National Airways Corporation was established to take over the independent airlines (Union Airways, Cook Strait Airways, Air Travel (NZ)) from 7 December, 1945. The establishment of new services after the passing of the act until the changeover was made conjointly with NAC.

1946, 2-3 September

AUCKLAND-NEW PLYMOUTH-PALMERSTON NORTH-WELLINGTON

Service reopened by Union Airways/N.Z.NAC with Lockheed Electras. On 2 September the Electra flew North from Wellington. returning from Auckland on the next day. This route had been closed during the war and was provisionally reopened by the RNZAF (see 14 May, 1945)


1946, 2 September

REVISED COOK STRAIT SERVICES by Union Airways/NAC

Using D.H. Dominies ZK-AKS "Teoteo", ZK-AKT "Tareke", ZK-AKU "Tawaka", ZK-ALB "Tikaka", and ZK-AKY "Tui" which had been released by the RNZAF.


1946, 4 September

REOPENING NEW PLYMOUTH-NAPIER-GISBORNE ROUTE

By Union Airways/NAC with the D.H.86 Express ZK-AHW "Korimako" First flight covers were backstamped NAPIER 4SP-46.3, GISBORNE 4SP-46 3.45PM and NEW PLYMOUTH 4SP-46.3PM

Overseas Flights: 1946, 11 Sept. / 1946, 29 Oct.


1946, 2 December

NORTH ISLAND COASTAL CIRCUITS

Air service was inaugurated by Union Airways/NAC with flights in clockwise and anti-clockwise directions. On the Clockwise service bad weather interfered with some flights and mail was stamped with the 'AIR SERVICE INTERRUPTED' cachet.


THE CLOCKWISE SERVICE

Lockheed Electra ZK-AFD "Kuaka" (Commander RJ. Walton with Second Officer H.E. Boyes) commenced the service at Gisborne and flew to New Plymouth and Palmerston North. At Palmerston North the mail was transferred to the Lockheed Electra ZK-AGJ "Kahu" (Commander G.R. White with Second Officer B.D. New) which continued to Wellington, The "Kahu" returned to Palmerston North and set out for New Plymouth but was forced to land at Hawera because of bad weather. Mail for New Plymouth was taken on by road and the other bags were transferred to the Anti-Clockwise flight The AIR SERVICE INTERRUPTED cachet was applied to covers carried on the sections indicated with an asterisk.


THE ANTI-CLOCKWISE SERVICE

The Lockheed Electra ZK-AGK "Kaka" (Commander J.W. Winefield with Second Officer R.E. Overell) flew Auckland-New Plymouth-Palmerston North-Wellington and returned via Palmerston North-Napier-Gisborne-Auckland. The mail left at New Plymouth following the forced landing of Electra ZK-AGJ "Kahu" at Hawera, was not sent on until 3 December.

Overseas Flights: 1946, 16 Dec. / 1946, 18 Dec. / 1947, 1 Jan / 1947, 12 Jan


1947, 20 January

NORTHLAND SERVICE INAUGURATED by N.Z.

National Airways Corporation (NAC). The northbound service flown from Gisborne-Tauranga-Whangarei-Kaikohe-Kaitaia-Auckland and the southbound in reverse. The inaugural flights were made by Lockheed Electra ZK-AGJ "Kahu" (Commander G.R. White, Second Officer D.M. Thomas).


1947, 22 January

GREYMOUTH-AUCKLAND INTERRUPTED FLIGHT

By Air Travel (N.Z)/N.Z. NAC. Mail carried on this flight was struck in purple with the framed AIR SERVICE INTERRUPTED cachet.

Overseas Flights: 1947, 2 Feb. / 1947, 12 Mar. / 1947, 25 Apr.-3 May


1947, 3-6 May

"GOODWILL TOUR" BY VICKERS VIKING

Demonstrator G-AJJN (Captain P.G. Robarts). Flights were made from Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin, and various covers were carried 'by courtesy'. One cover is known flown from Christchurch to Paraparaumu on 5 May signed by Captain Robarts. Another flown Harewood-Taieri-Harewood on the 6th was signed by Captain Robarts, co-pilot G.R. Bryce and navigator W.R. Fell. Covers may also have been flown from U.K.-N.Z.


1947, 10 May

OFFICIAL OPENING WAIPUKURAU AERODROME

When a DH-82A Tiger Moth, ZK-AID of the Hawkes Bay & East Coast Aero Club (pilot D.V. Ross) carried a small mail of special souvenir covers. These were postmarked WAIPUKURAU N.Z. 4MY 47 4. after the flight.


1947, 2 June

AUCKLAND-CHRISTCHURCH AND VICE VERSA

N.Z. NAC direct DC-3 service and a Christchurch-Paraparaumu-Auckland service were inaugurated but no mail is known from either flight.


1947, 14 July

AVRO YORK C.1 MW1O1 OF RAF

Transport Command brought Field Marshal The Viscount Montgomery on a visit to Australia and New Zealand. At least 3 covers are known to have been flown unofficially to N.Z. They were posted MASCOT 14 JLY 47 in Australia and backstamped upon arrival in NZ at OHAKEA AIR FORCE. After being flown back to Australia in the York, the covers were backstamped MASCOT AERODROME. The entire crew of the York signed the covers.

Overseas Flight: 1947, 20 July


1947, 3 August

BRITISH AIRCRAFT FIELD DAY

At Harewood Aerodrome, Christchurch in connection with the visit of the Bristol 170 Freighter demonstrator G-AIMC "Merchant Venturer" (Captain R. Ellison). Ten types of British aircraft took part in the display which was organised by the Canterbury Aero Club and some of them carried covers 'by courtesy'. These covers are pilot signed and postmarked HAREWOOD SETTLEMENT N.Z. 3 AU 47.


1947, 1-2 September

NZNAC INAUGURATED CHRISTCHURCH-DUNEDIN-CHRISTCHURCH SERVICE

By Douglas DC-3, following the upgrading of Taieri aerodrome to DC-3 standard, though restricted in use.


1947, 23-24 September

NELSON-OKURU FINAL FLIGHTS

By Air Travel (NZ) Ltd before the take-over of the service by NZNAC. Mails were flown from Wellington and Nelson to Hokitika by D.H. Dragon Rapide and then by Fox Moth on the South Westland service. Privately prepared souvenir covers were backstamped HOKITIKA 23 SP 47 6-PM and OKURU 24 SP 47 1.


1947, 23-26 September

HOKITIKA-HAAST AND JACKSONS BAY FINAL FLIGHTS

By Air Travel (NZ) Ltd. Owing to the limited load capacity of the Fox Moth, further flights on the South Westland service were made on 26 September to carry mail arriving at Hokitika from Nelson and Westport on the 23rd. The mail for Jacksons Bay was landed at the Mussel Beach airstrip.


1947, 25-26 September

JACKSONS BAY-HOKITIKA FINAL FLIGHT

By Air Travel (NZ) Ltd carried by Fox Moth from the Mussel Beach airstrip. Covers backstarnped HOKITIKA 255P 47 10AM, at WESTPORT 265P 47 l1.3OAM and at NELSON 265P 47 2.3OPM.


1947, 26-27 September

OKURU AND UPPER OKURU-HOKITIKA

Final Air Travel (NZ) flights by Fox Moth from Mussel Beach airstrip to Hokitika and onwards by D.H. Dragon Rapide.


1947, 27 September

LAST FLIGHT BY NZNAC

From Rongotai aerodrome, Wellington before it was closed for upgrading.


1947, 29 September

DEDICATION OF PARAPARAUMU

As Wellington Airport. Privately printed souvenir covers were flown on the NZNAC service from Auckland-Wellington Christchurch-Dunedin-Invercargill.


1947, 30 September

AIR TRAVEL (N.Z.) LTD.: LAST AIR MAIL FLIGHTS HOKITIKA-GREYMOUTH-WESTPORT-NELSON ROUTE

September 30th was set down as the date for the last flights by Air Travel (N.Z.) Ltd from Hokitika to Greymouth, Westport, Nelson and return, and normally two trips would have been made in each direction. The last air mail from Hokitika to Westport and Nelson, closed at 9.00am. on the 30th and was flown right through to schedule by D.H. Dragon Rapide, being backstamped "WESTPORT N.Z.30.SP.47.11.30AM." and "NELSON N.Z.30. SP. 47 12 NOON". The plane returned to Hokitika but no mail was carried.
The afternoons flight from Hokitika picked up mails at Greymouth but only proceeded as far as Westport, where, because of bad weather, the plane had to stay overnight. Mail from Greymouth to Westport was backstamped "WESTPORT N.Z.30.SP.47 5.", whilst that for Nelson was forwarded by road, eventually being backstamped "NELSON N.Z. 1OC47.6-PM".

The Air travel plane which had been grounded overnight at Westport, returned early next morning to Hokitika, carrying the Westport-Hokitika and Westport-Greymouth mails. The Hokitika mail as backstamped "HOKITIKA N.Z.-1 OC 47 9-AM" and was impressed with a rubber stamp cachet in green reading "AIR SERVICE INTERRUPTED" in a single-lined border.
The Greymouth mail was returned to that point from Hokitika by surface, being backstamped "GREYMOUTH N.Z.-1 OC 47.10-30AM", but did not receive a cachet. After returning to Hokitika on the morning of the 1st, the plane was handed over to N.A.C. personnel.

Because of the non-arrival of the Air Travel plane at Nelson on the afternoon of 30th, mails from that point for Westport, Greymouth and Hokitika, were all forwarded by road, arriving at their destinations on 1st. October. The Nelson mail to Hokitika arrived on the evening of the 1st, but was not backstamped until the morning of the 2nd at 9.00am when the cachet "AIR SERVICE INTERRUPTED" was applied in either violet or green to covers addressed "Poste Restante".

In addition to the two types of covers mentioned earlier in connection with last Air Travel mails, a third type was used on this service. Printed in a lighter blue, on white, these bear the following inscription in a panel on the left side of the envelope:- "FINAL FLIGHT BY AIR TRAVEL (N.Z.) LTD-(BLOCK OF PLANE) - HOKITIKA-GREYMOUTH-WESTPORT-NELSON SERVICE" - Farewell Flight by Air Travel (N.Z.) Ltd. before absorption by National Airways Corporation. Service pioneered by Capt. J.C. Mercer.

It is interesting to note that the Northbound mail out of Greymouth on the afternoon of the 30th., was the last to be flown from Greymouth for almost a year (see August 1948) as N.A.C. who took over the service, deleted Greymouth from the route.

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1947, 1-2 October

HOKITIKA-WESTPORT-NELSON AND VICE VERSA NZNAC

Service after take-over of Air Travel (NZ) Ltd. The D.H. Dragon Rapide ZK-AHS "Mokai" (Commander J.F. Cane) flew from Hokitika to Westport where engine trouble prevented further progress to Nelson. D.H. Dominie ZK-AKY "Tui" (Commander RE. Overell) from Nelson on 2 October, with the mail which had been additionally datestamped 2 October, to Westport where he picked up the delayed mail and returned with it to Nelson. Airmail received at Hokitika from these flights was struck in violet with the AIR SERVICE INTERRUPTED cachet (indicated below by asterisk *)


1947, 1-3 October

N.Z. NATIONAL AIRWAYS CORP.: FIRST FLIGHTS HOKITIKA-HAAST-OKURU ROUTE

The first N.A.C. mails from Hokitika for Haast (private bags), Okuru, Upper Okuru (private bags) and Jackson's bay left Hokitika to schedule on October 1st., the Fox Moth ZK-AGM "Matuhi" making the flight, piloted by Commander F. Molloy. The plane landed at Haast, where private bags were set down. The "Matuhi continued to Mussel beach Aerodrome where mails for Upper Okuru ( private bags), Okuru and Jackson's bay were set down, and mails from Upper Okuru (private bags) and Jackson's Bay only, were picked up. Mails outward from Okuru were not dispatched until the 3rd, when a Fox Moth made a special flight.

On the Southbound flight of 1st October, mail which closed at Hokitika at 7.00pm was backstamped at Jackson's Bay the same day but Okuru mail was not backstamped until the following day. The northbound mail from Jackson's Bay consisted of letters posted between 24th September (after closing of Air Travel mail) and October 1st, and was backstamped at Hokitika at 6.00pm. on the 1st.
Mail forwarded from Upper Okuru carried the Upper Okuru datestamp in violet although, as was mentioned in the Air travel section, this was actually a telegraph datestamp. On this occasion the dater was not used to cancel the stamps but was applied alongside the stamps which were cancelled on arrival at Hokitika when the datestamp of 6.00pm. was also applied.

As was mentioned earlier, the first northbound mail from Okuru Post Office was not dispatched until October 3rd, when some letters had the cancellation applied with the wrong date, reading 1948 instead of 1947. This error was corrected in manuscript and initialled R.E., the name of the Post Master being R. Eggeling. The correct datestamp was also applied alongside the original impression. This mail was backstamped at Hokitika at 6.00pm on October 3rd.

The two types of covers printed in maroon as mentioned under the Hokitika-Nelson section were also used on these flights together with a third type printed in blue on white, bearing an impression of a plane together with the inscription "FIRST FLIGHT N.A.C.-OCTOBER 1ST.1947 - HOKITIKA - WAIHO - HAAST - OKURU SERVICE - Commemorating First Service Flight by National Airways Corporation on incorporating Air Travel (N.Z.) Ltd., pioneers on the West Coast Airways". Note:-The mail weights below include parcels.

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1947, 1-6 October

THROUGH MAIL FROM SOUTH WESTLAND

To Nelson by NZNAC services. The D.H. Fox Moth ZK-AGM "Matuhi" (Commander F. Molloy) made connecting flights with the daily Dragon Rapide service over four days as the cargo capacity of the Fox Moth was limited. On 2 October the flight connected at Hokitika with D.H. Dominie ZK-AKS "Teoteo" (Commander J.F. Cane) which took the mail to Westport. At Westport it was transferred to D.H. Dominie ZK-AKY "Tui" (Commander R.E. Overell) and flown to Nelson.

Overseas Flights: 1947, 1 Nov. / 1947, 2 Nov. / 1947, 4-5 Nov.


1947, 13 November

U.K.-N.Z. FLIGHT OF THE ROYAL AIR FORCE

Lincolnian RE364 "Aries II" from the Empire Air Navigation School, Shawbury, Shropshire. Leaflets were dropped over some places in N.Z. An official cover carried from Ohakea to Wigram were postmarked PALMERSTON NORTH 13 NOV47 8-PM ans signed by seven members of the crew.

Overseas Flight: 1947, 16 Nov.


1947, 17 November

N.Z. NATIONAL AIRWAYS CORP: INAUGURATION OF "DOMINIE" SERVICE GIVING 1ST SAME-DAY THROUGH CONNECTIONS FROM INVERCARGILL NORTHWARD

Although regular air mail service had been operating from Invercargill northward from November 6th 1944, it had always been necessary for mails and passengers to "stop-over" at Dunedin for a night before proceeding northward the following day. This arrangement was neither convenient nor expeditious and Invercargill agitated for a more satisfactory service.

Eventually, on November 17th 1947, N.A.C. opened a "Dominie" shuttle service between Invercargill and Dunedin connecting with larger airlines at Dunedin, thus giving the first regular same-day service from Invercargill to Christchurch, Wellington, Nelson, Palmerston North and Auckland. In addition to these same-day connections, a saving of a day was made to most other points on the Dominion network, and covers have been recorded which arrived at Gisborne or New Plymouth on the 18th, and Okuru and South Westland on the 19th.

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Overseas Flights: 1947, 12 Dec. / 1947, 21 Dec. / 1948, 23 Feb. / 1948, 17 June / 1948, 1-5 Apr.


1948, 5 April

NEW ZEALAND SURVEY BY VICKERS VIKING C.2 VL248

Of the King's Flight. The pilot of the Viking was Wing Commander E.W. Tacon and on board was the Captain of the King's Flight, Air Commodore E.H. Fielden. The survey was undertaken in preparation for the 1949 Royal Tour but that was cancelled because of the King's illness. The Viking arrived at RNZAF Station, Whenuapai on 6 April. At least two covers were unofficially carried in N.Z. and postmarked WHENUAPAI AIR FORCE 15AP 48.1. They have a typed inscription and are signed by Air Commodore Fielden.


1948, 8-9 April

WELLINGTON-GISBORNE

Weekly non-stop service inaugurated by NZNAC. Mail originally postmarked WELLINGTON 8 AP 4812 NOON was not flown until the next day and was backstamped GISBORNE 9 AP 483.45 PM with the AIR SERVICE INTERRUPTED cachet struck in black.


1948, 16 April

GISBORNE-WELLINGTON DIRECT WEEKLY SERVICE

Inaugurated by NZNAC. This was the return flight of the Wellington-Gisborne service of 8-9 April which had been disrupted by bad weather.


1948, 19 April

CRASH OF NZNAC LOCKHEED ELECTRA ZK-AGJ "Kahu"

(Commander A.C. Harris, First Officer G.E. Bruce) while on landing approach at Tauranga aerodrome in a thunderstorm en route Gisborne-Auckland. There were no casualties although the plane was badly damaged. The mail was retrieved and flown to Auckland on 20 April. No distinctive markings were applied and no covers have been identified.


1948, 27 April

TOUR OF N.Z. BY HANDLEY PAGE HASTINGS C.1 TG503

(Squadron Leader H.G. Hazelden). This aircraft was the Handley Page demonstrator although it wore RAF markings. Sqn. Ldr Hazelden was the company's Chief Test Pilot and was in charge of the tour. A few covers were flown from RNZAF Station, Ohakea to RNZAF Station, Wigram and were signed by members of the crew.

Overseas Flight: 1948, 5 May


1948, 28 May

FINAL FLIGHTS HOKITIKA-HAAST-OKURU-UPPER OKURU

NZNAC South Westland Fox Moth service pending the relicensing of the Hokitika aerodrome for twin engined aircraft. The last service was flown by Commander F. Molloy in the Fox Moth ZK-AEK "Mohua" from Okuru (Mussel Beach airstrip) to Hokitika.

Overseas Flight: 1948, 28 May


1948, 1 June

THE FIRST OFFICIAL DRAGON RAPIDE SERVICES OF NZNAC

From Hokitika aerodrome to Haast and return were flown by ZK-AHS "Mokai" (Commander NA. Suttie). Mail for Okuru was also flown to Haast.


1948, 21 July

CHRISTCHURCH-DUNEDIN INTERRUPTED FLIGHT

A NZNAC Lockheed Lodestar which left Harewood at 2.30pm. on a scheduled service to Dunedin, turned back because of poor visibility. A gooseneck flare path was laid at Harewood and the Lodestar landed safely at 5.35pm. This was the first Lodestar to land at night and possibly the first aircraft on service with passengers to do so. No cachets were applied to mail and no covers have been identified.

Overseas Flight: 1948, 4 Aug.


1948, 9 August

WHEN CIVIL AVIATION BRANCH REVOKED NZNAC LICENCE

To fly Dragon Rapide aircraft from Southside Aerodrome, Hokitika, the airline began a restricted Fox Moth service from Greymouth to Westport connecting with the Dragon service to Nelson.


1948, 9 August

HOKITIKA-OKURU

NZNAC reintroduced the Fox Moth on the South Westland service when the licence to fly twin-engined aircraft from Hokitika was revoked. Mails from Hokitika for Haast, Okuru, and Upper Okuru were all flown to the Mussel Beach airstrip.

Overseas Flight: 1948, 10 Sept.


1948, 27 September

N.Z NATIONAL AIRWAYS CORPORATION: INAUGURATION OF REGULAR AIR SERVICE AUCKLAND-ROTORUA-HAMILTON-WELLINGTON AND RETURN VIA PALMERSTON NORTH

On September 27th 1948, the veteran Lockheed Electra ZK-AFD "Kuaka", left Whenuapai Airport, Auckland, under the command of Pilot R.T. Mounsey with Commander K.B. Fitton as co-pilot on the first flight linking Hamilton and Rotorua with the Dominion air network. The plane did not call at Palmerston North on the southbound flight but picked up mails at that point on the northbound flight.

Although Wellington, Palmerston North and Auckland all dispatched mails for Rotorua and Hamilton, the latter points only made up mails for Wellington so that all northbound covers from Rotorua and Hamilton were miscarried. Most of this latter mail was backstamped at Wellington before connecting with the "Limited" Express. Covers routed HAMILTON - PALMERSTON NORTH do not bear the Wellington backstamp but are backstamped "Palmerston North N.Z.- DELIVERY 27 SP.48.2-PM". This mail was flown back to Palmerston North on the return flight.
Mail from Rotorua and Hamilton connected at Wellington with the services to the South island and the covers so carried were backstamped at Dunedin "27.SP.48 5-PM", Invercargill Delivery "28 SEP 1948", whilst letters to Okuru, South Westland, were backstamped "OKURU-N.Z.-29.SP.48.9".

At least two types of special covers are known to have been carried on the first flights of this service. One, printed in red on barber pole air mail envelopes bears the following inscription:- "N.A.C. FIRST OFFICIAL AIR MAIL - Auckland-Hamilton-Rotorua-Palmerston North-Wellington and Vice Versa - Route........."; whilst in the lower left-hand corner is a panel containing a miniature photo of a Lockheed Electra with the caption "On the National Airways Route". Each section carries a different miniature. The second type of cover was printed in violet and carried an impression of a Lockheed Electra in flight, together with suitable inscription.


Via Palmerston North.

N.Z.N.A.C. inaugurated a regular service using Lockheed Electra ZK-AFD "Kuaka"[ Commander R.T. Mounsey with Second Officer K.B. Fitton] and linking with the Dominie service at Hamilton and Rotorua. Mail from Rotorua and Hamilton which should have gone to Auckland was sent to Wellington in error, where it was backstamped and put on the Limited express train for Auckland. Mail addressed to Palmerston North on the southbound flight also went to Wellington and was sent to Palmerston North on the return flight.


1948, 23 October

CRASH OF NZNAC LOCKHEED ELECTRA, ZK-AGK "KAKA"

(Commander G.M. Hare with Second Officer B.C. Russell) on a flight from Palmerston North to Wellington, The aircraft crashed on Mt. Ruapehu, killing the eleven passengers and two crew. Only one bag of mail containing 19 letters (one for Auckland and 18 for overseas) was carried and this was recovered. The letters were forwarded with a covering letter of explanation. No cachets were applied to the covers.


1948, 19 November

THE GOLDEN JUBILEE OF THE GREAT BARRIER PIGEONGRAM STAMPS

Was commemorated by the Auckland Philatelic Society which produced a special souvenir cover and etiquette. The covers were postmarked OKUPU N.Z. 19 NO 48 on Great Barrier Island and flown by aeroplane to Auckland where the gold bordered etiquette was affixed and "tied" by the impression of the original handstamp used by the Agency. No mint etiquettes were released.


1948, 13 December

AUCKLAND-DUNEDIN VIA WELLINGTON

Direct Douglas DC-3 service introduced by NZNAC. This was also a non-stop flight from Wellington to Dunedin. No mail was flown northward from Dunedin.


1948, 15 December

GISBORNE-TAURANGA-AUCKLAND SERVICE

Opened by NZNAC with Lockheed Lodestars. Privately printed covers were included in the mail.


1948, 20 December

GISBORNE-NAPIER-PALMERSTON NORTH-WELLINGTON

NZNAC Lockheed Electra service left Gisborne at 7.45am and reached Wellington at 10.00am. The return flight left Wellington at 11.40am and arrived back in Gisborne at 2.00pm. Privately prepared souvenir covers were carried.


1948, 20 December

GISBORNE-AUCKLAND AND VICE VERSA

Direct NZNAC service with Lockheed Lodestars. A flight left Gisborne at 4.10pm and reached Auckland at 5.45 pm but covers were not backstamped until 9.00am, 21 December. The flight from Auckland left at 4.35pm and landed at Gisborne at 6.00pm where mail was backstamped GISBORNE 20DE48.7PM.

Overseas Flights: 1949, 1 Jan. / 1949, 30 Jan.


1949, 18 March

CRASH OF NZNAC LOCKHEED LODESTAR ZK-AKX "Kereru"

(Commander RW. Bartley and First Officer R.A. Boys) in the Tararua Ranges while on a scheduled flight from Auckland to Wellington. All on board (13 passengers and two crew) were killed. Only 100 letters were salvaged from the resultant fire. Most of them were addressed to Wellington and were delivered with a letter of explanation from the Chief Postmaster, Wellington.

Overseas Flight: 1949, 20 Apr.


1949, 4 May

AUCKLAND-GREYMOUTH INTERRUPTED FLIGHT

Of NZNAC Mail was stamped with the framed AIR SERVICE INTERRUPTED cachet, possibly at Westport.

Overseas Flight: 1949, 16 May


1949, 11 June

PARACHUTE MAIL

At the Grand Field Day organised by the Canterbury Aero Club at Harewood aerodrome, Christchurch, K.J. Brown made a parachute jump over the airfield from a D.H.82A Tiger Moth carrying six covers prepared by a local collector. These covers were then postmarked HAREWOOD SETTLEMENT N.Z. 11 JE 49.2

Overseas Flight: 1949, 10 July


1949, 16 July

TO COMMEMORATE THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE GREAT BARRIER PIGEONGRAM AGENCY

The Air Mail Society of New Zealand issued 2,000 special souvenir covers which were postmarked OKUPU N.Z. 16 JY 49. The covers were then flown from Great Barrier Island to Auckland where they were backstamped AUCKLAND N.Z AIR MAIL 5.30 A. 19 JUL 49. Vignettes showing the 6d and 1/- Pigeongram stamps in reverse colours were affixed to covers and tied with the Society's Seal. 1,000 covers had the 6d stamp and 1,000 the 1/- value affixed. The vignettes were printed in small sheets of six stamps (3 of each value) on gummed green paper with a limited issue of two to each member and a general printing of 1000 sheets on white gummed paper.

Overseas Flight: 1949, 22 July


1949, 11 August

QUEENSTOWN-HOLLYFORD VALLEY

First flight by Southern Scenic Air Trips Ltd. in Auster Autocrat ZK-APO flown by FJ. Lucas. A few covers were flown "by courtesy", postmarked QUEENSTOWN on return, signed by the pilot.

Overseas Flights: 1949, 29 Sept. / 1949, 18 Oct.


1949, 31 October

DUNEDIN-CHRISTCHURCH-WELLINGTON-AUCKLAND

First NZNAC scheduled service which involved a night flight was carried out by Douglas DC-3 ZK-APB "Popotea" (Captain M.L Pine and Commander J.W. Winefield). The aircraft flew in daylight Dunedin-Christchurch-Wellington but the last leg of the service between Paraparaumu and Auckland was made in darkness. The DC-3 landed at Auckland at 8.05pm. A few covers with typed inscription were flown Christchurch-Auckland.

Overseas Flights: 1949, 14 Nov. / 1949, 16 Nov. / 1949, 7 Dec. / 1949, 19 Dec. / 1949, 19 Dec. / 1949, 21 Dec.


1950, 14 January

AIRCRAFT FIRE. NZNAC D.H. Dominie, ZK-ALC "Tiora"

(Captain W.T. Rainbow) was about to take off on from Rotorua aerodrome on the scheduled service to Auckland when a sheet of flame from the port engine ignited the dry grass beneath the aircraft ZK-ALC was destroyed but the pilot and 4 passengers escaped without injury but lost their baggage. No mail was on board.


1950, 13 February

HANDLEY PAGE (READING) MILES MARATHON G-ALUB

(H. Kendall) arrived at New Plymouth on a demonstration tour and was used by NZNAC for performance trials. G-ALUB was flown on scheduled NZNAC routes by Captains H.C. Walker and R.T. Mounsey and visited major airports during its stay in N.Z. The Marathon flew from Auckland to Sydney via Norfolk Island on 13 February. At least one cover was flown by courtesy from Ohakea-Whenuapai on the 13th.


1950, 12-13 April

WESTPORT-KARAMEA FLOOD EMERGENCY FLIGHTS

When heavy rain caused flooding which cut the road and rail access, a Tiger Moth of the West Coast United Aero Club (possibly ZK-AND) piloted by T. Menzies carried bread and mail from Westport to the flooded area. Two flights were made on the 12April and one on the morning of the 13th. No identifying markings were applied to mail.


1950, 12 May

NZNAC INAUGURAL FLIGHT AUCKLAND-KAIKOHE-KAITAIA

By Lockheed Lodestar ZK-AOT "Korohia". The Lodestar replaced the previous Lockheed Electra service to Northland but omitted Whangarei which was not licensed for Lodestar operations.


1950, 15 May

AUCKLAND-WHANGAREI AND RETURN.

NZNAC commenced a D.H. Dominie service to Whangarei after Lockheed Lodestars had been introduced to the Northland route.


1950, 16 May

FINAL SERVICE FLIGHT by NZNAC

Union Airways first Lockheed Electra ZK-AFD "Kuaka", which had carried the first official Wellington-Auckland air mail on 27 June 1937. ZK-AFD (Captain E.P.M. Dowd, Second Officer D. Clapham) with the General Manager of NZNAC, F. Maurice Clarke on board, carried 108 special privately printed covers on 16 May from Whenuapai to Palmerston North. Covers were signed by the three officers.

Overseas Flights: 1950, 6 June / 1950, 28 June


1950, 1 August

QUEENSTOWN-DUNEDIN-QUEENSTOWN

First flight by Southern Scenic Air Trips to inaugurate its service by the Percival Proctor 5 ZK-AQK flown by FJ. Lucas. At least 4 covers were carried unofficially and postmarked on arrival of the return flight LOWER SHOTOVER N.Z. 1 AU 50

Overseas Flights: 1950, 3 Oct. / 1950, 1 Dec. / 1950, 14-20 Dec. / 1950, 15 Dec.


1950, 18 December

DEDICATION OF CHRISTCHURCH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

(formerly known as Harewood Airport). During the ceremony a D.H. Dragonfly ZK-AFB of the Canterbury Aero Club piloted by C.G. Fantham made a short flight carrying a small unofficial mail. On landing, these Canterbury Centennial souvenir covers were postmarked HAREWOOD SETTLEMENT 18 DE 50.1 and stamped with a large cachet commemorating the Dedication.

Overseas Flights: 1950, 18-20 Dec.
Overseas Flights: 1951, 3 Jan. / 1951, 29 Jan. / 1951, 19 Mar.


1951, 2 April

AUCKLAND-KAIKOHE-KAITAIA AND RETURN "Northlander Service"

By NZNAC using Douglas DC-3s instead of Lockheed Lodestars.

Overseas Flights: 1951, 15 Apr. / 1951, 15 May / 1951, 29 May / 1951, 28-29 June / 1951, 28 June / 1951, 10 Nov. / 1951, 28 Nov.-6 Dec. / 1951, 9 & 15 Dec.


1951, 17 December

OFFICIAL OPENING OF NEW HOKITIKA AIRPORT

Built at Seaview Flat north-east of the township. The Hokitika Borough Council issued commemorative souvenir covers marking the event and a special datestamp was used by the Hokitika Post Office.


1951, 17 December

FIRST FLIGHTS BY NZNAC

To and from the new Hokitika Airport The Lockheed Lodestar ZK-AKW "Kopara" (Captain H.C. Walker and Captain D.F. Ayson) flew via Paraparaumu-Nelson-Westport arriving at Hokitika at 1.13pm. At 1.50pm "Kopara" left to fly Westport-Nelson-Paraparaumu arriving at 4.30pm. A number of the Hokitika souvenir covers together with other mail was carried on this flight.

(click to enlarge)
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map

Overseas Flights: 1951, 27 Dec. / 1951, 28 Dec.-1952, 2 Jan. / 1952, 1 Feb. / 1952, 3 Feb. / 1952, 12 Mar.


1952, 31 March

WELLINGTON-NELSON-WESTPORT

Wellington-Blenheim; and Wellington-Hamilton, and return flights. NZNAC introduced the Douglas DC-3 on these routes replacing Lockheed Lodestars.

Overseas Flight: 1952, 5 Apr.


1952, 5-11 June

MILFORD SOUND-QUEENSTOWN AND RETURN

Auster Aiglet ZK-AWS of Southern Scenic Air Services Ltd. flown by F.J. Lucas carried the first official air mail from Milford Sound to Queenstown. Approximately 48 covers were flown postmarked MILFORD SOUND 5 JE 52-1 and were backstamped QUEENSTOWN-N.Z 6 JE 52-1 The return flight was not made until 11 June when Trevor Cheetham flew the Aiglet back to Milford Sound with a very small mail.


1952, 15 October

WESTPORT-WHANGAREI NZNAC SERVICE

Was disrupted by bad weather on the West Coast of the South Island. Mail was stamped with the framed 'AIR SERVICE INTERRUPTED' cachet

Overseas Flights: 1952, 31 Oct. / 1952, 9 Oct.-3 & 18 Dec.


1952, 15 December

NZNAC INCORPORATED BLENHEIM

Into the direct Christchurch-Palmerston North-Auckland Douglas DC3 service. DC-3 ZK-AQT "Piere" (Captain J.H. Register) commenced the service and DC-3 ZK-APA "Puweto" made the return flight. Privately-printed souvenir covers were included in the flown mail.


1952, 18 December

QUEENSTOWN-OAMARU SERVICE

By Southern Scenic Air Services Ltd Percival Proctor. On the inaugural flight a small bundle of covers was carried unofficially and they were postmarked QUEENSTOWN 18 DE 52 8.40 AM and again postmarked on arrival OAMARU 18 DE 52 5-30 PM.

Overseas Flight: 1953, Jan.


1953, 23 February

CHRISTCHURCH-ASHBURTON-OAMARU SERVICE

Inaugurated by South Island Airways Ltd D.H. Dominie ZK-BCP (Captain B.G. Chadwick). No official mail was carried although a small number of covers was flown by courtesy including some printed souvenir covers. These covers were not backstamped but were struck in red SUPERVISOR POSTAL BRANCH OAMARU, Covers also bear the single line SOUTH ISLAND AIRWAYS LTD cachet in violet and are signed by Captain Chadwick.


1953, 26 March

WELLINGTON-BLENHEIM-NELSON

NZNAC new service from Rongotai by D.H.114 Heron ZK-AYV "Matuku". Five flights were made on the opening day - three to Nelson and two to Blenheim. Rongotai aerodrome had been closed for upgrading in September, 1947 so that the 26 March was the first time it had been used for commercial services since then.

Overseas Flight: 1953, 8 Apr.


1953, 20 April

WELLINGTON-NELSON AND RETURN

Special flight by NZNAC when the Cook Strait ferry steamer "Ngaio" was withdrawn for overhaul. At the request of the N.Z. Post Office, special flights were made to transport mail between the two cities at an 'All Up' surface rate postage. No special markings were used and identification depends on the datestamps.


1953, 20-21 April

WELLINGTON-BLENHEIM AND VICE VERSA

Special flights by NZNAC DC-3 freighter to carry accumulated surface rate mail across Cook Strait after the withdrawal of the steamer "Ngaio". NAC flew mail, and the other Cook Strait ferry M.V. "Tamahine" carried mail, but on alternate days. No special markings applied to mail.

Overseas Flights: 1953, 2 June / 1953, 8 June / 1953, 17 & 26 July / 1953, 11 Aug. / 1953, 1 Sept.


1953, 14 September

DURING THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE LEVELS AIRPORT AT TIMARU

Auster Air Services Ltd Auster Autocrat flown by P.H. Rowley unofficially carried a small number of covers. Covers were then postmarked TIMARU N.Z 12 SP 53 4-PM.


1953, 14 September

CHRISTCHURCH-TIMARU AND RETURN

Service inaugurated by South Island Airways Ltd with D.H. Dominie ZK-BBP (Captain B.G. Chadwick). A small unofficial mail was flown in each direction and posted after arrival at each point Postmarks were TIMARU N.Z. 14 SP 53 and CHRISTCHURCH C.1 N.Z 11-PM 14SEP 1953.

Overseas Flights: 1953, 1 Oct. / 1953, 8-22 Oct. / 1953, 16 Oct. / 1953, 19 Nov. / 1953, 3 Dec.


1954, 6 January

ROTORUA-GISBORNE NZNAC D.H.114 Heron ZK-BEO "Mako"

(Captain H.C. Walker, Captain W. Rayment) was used to fly H,M. Queen Elizabeth II, and the Duke of Edinburgh on the occasion of the Royal Visit to N.Z. No mail was carried.


1954, 1 February

CHRISTCHURCH-NELSON AND RETURN

Inaugural flight by South Island Airways Ltd. D.H. Dominie ZK-BBP (Captain B.G. Chadwick) set out for Nelson but bad weather closed the airport and the Dominie landed at Blenheim. Passengers for Nelson completed the journey by bus. Later the weather improved so Captain Chadwick flew from Blenheim to Nelson, returning to Christchurch later in the day. An unofficial mail of printed souvenir covers was postmarked CHRISTCHURCH 11 AM 1 FEB. A privately applied 3-line cachet FLIGHT INTERRUPTED BY WEATHER - EMERGENCY LANDING AT BLENHEIM - CONVEYED BY SURFACE BLENHEIM-NELSON was struck on these covers. A similar private cachet was struck on the return covers, reading FLIGHT INTERRUPTED BY WEATHER - EMERGENCY LANDING AT BLENHEIM - FLOWN BLENHEIM-CHRISTCHURCH ONLY.

Overseas Flights: 1954, 13 Mar. / 1954, 7 Apr. / 1954, 14 May / 1954, 15 may / 1954, 15 May


1954, 22 May

CRASH OF NZNAC DOUGLAS DC-3 ZK-AQT "Piere"

(Captain W.B. Pettet First Officer V.L.A. Powell) at Raumati Beach, on a flight from Christchurch to Wellington. An engine cut out as the aircraft approached to land at Paraparaumu, causing the port wing to drop and strike a house. In the resulting crash, ZK-AQT caught fire and was burnt out Of the 25 passengers on board, 22 were rescued but 3 children were killed. Of the 6 bags of mail aboard, approximately 600 letters in various condition were salvaged. They received a rubber-stamped explanatory cachet and where possible were delivered to the addressees.

Overseas Flights: 1954, 22-24 June / 1954, 25 & 27 June / 1954, 28 June / 1954, 29-30 June / 1954, 21 July / 1954, 21 Sept. / 1954, 8-10 Oct.


1954, 1 November

OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE UPGRADED WANGANUI AIRPORT

NZNAC Douglas DC-3 ZK-AYK "Parekareka" (Captain G.W. Miles, Captain J.W. Winefield) made the first DC-3 landing on the new runway and was also the first to take off after the ceremony. No special markings were applied to the few covers flown by courtesy.


1954, 1 November

N.Z. NATIONAL AIRWAYS CORP.: INAUGURAL FLIGHTS LINKING WANGANUI DIRECT WITH AUCKLAND, NEW PLYMOUTH, PALMERSTON NORTH AND WELLINGTON

On the same date that the Wanganui Airport was officially opened, N.A.C. inaugurated their service linking Wanganui with the Dominion network.

The new services were: Flight 301 (southbound) flown by DC-3 airliner ZK-AYK "Parekareka", commanded by Capt. G.W. Miles, with Second-officer J.W. Winefield. The airliner left Auckland at 8.20am, New Plymouth at 9.45am, and arrived at Wanganui at 10.25am, when the inaugural ceremony was held. Leaving Wanganui at 10.40am, and Palmerston North at 11.20am, the DC-3 arrived at Paraparaumu, Wellington, at 11.55am, when mails connected with other services to the South Island.

NZNAC included Wanganui in the main trunk route when the aerodrome was upgraded to DC-3 standards. Douglas DC-3 ZK-AYK 'Parekareka' [Captains G. Miles and J.W. Winefield] arrived from Auckland [see No.420] and departed in the afternoon for Palmerston North and Wellington. Later in the afternoon Douglas DC-3 ZK-APA 'Puweto' [Captains L.H. Dobbs and R.J. Montrowe] arrived from Wellington via Palmerston North and departed for Auckland shortly afterwards. Privately printed souvenir covers were included in the mails.

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map


1954, 1-3 November

WANGANUI-WESTPORT-HOKITIKA

NZNAC service interrupted by stormy weather in the Cook Strait area. Mails were delayed until 3 November and were struck with the framed 'AIR SERVICE INTERRUPTED' cachet.


1954, 2 November

CHRISTCHURCH-DUNEDIN INTERRUPTED SERVICE

When heavy rains caused flooding at Taieri aerodrome, Dunedin, the NZNAC 12.20pm Douglas DC-3 service was diverted to Oamaru. Passengers and mail were taken to Dunedin by bus. No cachet applied to mail.

Overseas Flight: 1954, 24 Nov.


1955, 8-9 January

HELICOPTER MAIL FROM THE ICE-BREAKER USS "ATKA"

Two Bell HTL-5 helicopters flew from "Atka" to Taieri aerodrome with mail on the evening of 8 January while the ship sailed along the Otago Coast on its voyage from Wellington to Little America, Antarctica. One of the helicopters experienced engine trouble so both machines were hangared overnight at Taieri. Repairs were carried out and both helicopters rejoined the ship early on 9 January. A cachet showing the ship and a crude representation of a helicopter was impressed onto some covers.

Overseas Flight: 1955, 1 Feb.


1955, 5 February

HELICOPTER SERVICES LTD DEMONSTRATION

Of Hiller UH 12-B ZK-HAB at the Auckland Birthday Carnival at Western Springs. A souvenir cover was distributed by the Auckland Provincial Public Relations Office and a mail weighing 160 lbs (16,668 covers) was flown by pilot Michael F. Meger to Pamell Park whence it was taken by road to Auckland Chief Post Office. A large flight cachet was also struck in black on covers.

Overseas Flight: 1955, 12 Apr.


1955, 23 May

CHRISTCHURCH-WELLINGTON-WANGANUI-HAMILTON

Service inaugurated by NZNAC with Douglas DC-3 ZK-AYZ "Powhera" (Captain PJ. Buck, First Officer D.W. Barr). Mail from Christchurch was incorrectly loaded into Douglas DC-3 ZK-AOZ "Pakara" but was transferred to the "Powhera" at Wellington, The southbound service was flown by DC-3 ZK-AOH "Pateke" (Captain B. Smith, First Officer J.H. Budd).


1955, 23 May

WELLINGTON-NAPIER-ROTORUA-HAMILTON NZNAC

D.H. Heron service inaugurated by ZK-BEQ "Mako" (Captain CA. Merrington, Captain PS. Whiten). The service left Rotorua Airport at 9am and completed the Northbound flight at Hamilton at 12.15pm. The return flight left Hamilton at 12.40pm and arrived in Wellington at 3.55pm. Printed souvenir covers were included in the mails.

Overseas Flight: 1955, 20 July


1955, 13 September

SILVER JUBILEE OF THE AIR MAIL SOCIETY OF NEW ZEALAND

A combined exhibition of the Christchurch Philatelic Clubs was held to mark the 25th Anniversary of the foundation of the Society. Souvenir covers consisting of 3,000 blue on white (standard envelopes) and 700 air mail type covers were produced and the Exhibition Post Office used a commemorative datestamp. The special covers featured a facsimile of the design used for the 1938 National Air Mail Exhibition.

Overseas Flights: 1955, 14 Sept. / 1955, 1 Nov. / 1955, 6 Nov. / 1955, 7-11 Nov.


1955, 9-10 December

USS "EDISTO" HELICOPTER FLIGHT

From the ice-breaker as it approached Lyttelton Harbour, to RNZAF Station, Wigram. The "Edisto" carried two Sikorsky HO4S-3 helicopters, serialled 138594 and 138523, forming a detachment of Squadron HU-2. Mail flown by helicopter was franked with a US 3c stamp postmarked USS EDISTO (AGB 2) DEC 9. and bore OPERATION DEEPFREEZE and NEW ZEALAND OUTBOUND cachets.

Overseas Flights: 1955, 17, 18, 20 Dec. / 1955, 22 Dec.



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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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