1965 - 1974
THE INTERNAL FLIGHTS
1965, 22 March
NEW AIRMAIL NETWORKFirst flights by South Pacific Airlines of New Zealand (SPANZ). Three Douglas DC-3 Viewmasters (ZK-BYD "Ernest Rutherford", ZK-BYE "Jean Batten" and ZK-CAW "George Bolt") carried mail under a new Post Office contract. SPANZ envelopes with a rubber-stamped cachet dated 22 March were included in the mail. Backstamps were applied at each arrival point.
NORTHERNOamaru-Rotorua / Gore-Alexandra / Oamaru-Hamilton / Gore-Masterton / Oamaru-Auckland / Gore-New Plymouth / Timaru-Masterton / Gore-Rotorua
SOUTHERNGore-Hamilton / Masterton-Timaru / Alexandra-Nelson / Masterton-Oamaru / Alexandra-Masterton / Masterton-Gore / Alexandra-New Plymouth / New Plymouth-Gore / Alexandra-Rotorua / New Plymouth-Alexandra / Alexandra-Hamilton / Rotorua-Oamaru / Alexandra-Auckland / Rotorua-Alexandra / Oamaru-Nelson / Rotorua-Gore / Oamaru-Wellington / Hamilton-Oamaru / Oamaru-Masterton / Hamilton-Alexandra / Oamaru-New Plymouth / Hamilton-Gore
1965, 4 May
SPANZ INCLUDED CHRISTCHURCHIn its air mail network under a new Post Office contract. Service was flown by Douglas DC-3 Viewmaster and souvenir covers were carried.
1965, 26 June
OFFICIAL OPENING OF TAUPO AIRPORTOn Saturday, 26 June. SPANZ Douglas DC-3 Viewmaster ZK-BYE "Jean Batten" (Captain K.B. Smith) made the first official landing on the 4,500 ft. sealed runway. The first scheduled service left Taupo on 27 June and the first flight carrying air mail took place on the 28th (see next entry).
1965, 28 June
TAUPO WAS INCLUDED IN THE SPANZ AIRMAIL NETWORKWhen Douglas DC-3 Viewmasters ZK-BYD "Ernest Rutherford", ZK-BYE "Jean Batten" and ZK-CAW "George Bolt" staged through with the mail. Souvenir covers showing the company's badge were included in the mail and were backstamped at arrival destinations.
1965, 22 July
A NEW ZEALAND ALTITUDE RECORDFor light aircraft (23,786 feet) was made by Colin Glasgow when he flew Mooney Super 21 ZK-CFV over Canterbury on this date. It is believed that a few unofficial covers were carried.
1965, 30 August
CHRISTCHURCH-QUEENSTOWN AND RETURNMount Cook Airlines inaugurated a regular same day service using Douglas DC-3 ZK-BKD. Covers posted in Christchurch were backstamped at Queenstown at 1.30pm. and return covers were backstamped at Christchurch at 8.00pm.
1965, 16 October
FIRST "BERNINA" BALLOON FLIGHTBy the German balloonists Hermann ("Joe") Scheer and Alfred Schultz in support of the Plunket Society. The balloon burst while it was being inflated at the Hutt Park Racecourse on 16 October and the ascent was abandoned. Special illustrated postcards were made available and those which were to be carried on this flight had been postmarked with a pictorial datestamp on 16 October. A cachet reading FLIGHT CANCELLED - BALLOON BURST was struck in black on these cards.
1965, 23 October
THE 'BERNINA" BALLOON AT AUCKLANDAscended from the Ellerslie Racecourse and after a flight of some 26 minutes it descended on Motutapu Island in the Hauraki Gulf. The special cards were taken to Hamilton by road and backstamped with the machine slogan reading: HAMILTON N.Z -7 PM. 24 OCT 1965 - ADDRESS LETTERS CAREFULLY. A similar pictorial datestamp to that used at Moera was applied to the mail in Auckland on 23 October.
1965, 7 November
THE "BERNINA" BALLOON AT CHRISTCHURCHAscended from the Riccarton Racecourse and after being airborne for about 25 minutes it descended on the banks of the Heathcote River, near the Port Hills road tunnel portal. "Bernina" souvenir postcards had been postmarked at Christchurch with a special balloon datestamp similar to those used at Moera and Auckland and after the flight were taken by road to Ashburton for backstamping. Here they received a machine cancel slogan reading: ASHBURTON N.Z - 7-PM - 8 NOV 1965 DESTINATION SPECIAL BALLOON MAIL. Some postcards have a printed etiquette CAPTIVE FLIGHT but it uncertain how they were used.
1965, 24 November
ON THE OPENING OF AUCKLAND INTERNATIONAL AIRPORTAt Mangere, NZNAC transferred its operations there from Whenuapai. The first NAC aircraft to depart from Mangere was a Friendship on the Nelson service, followed by a Viscount to Christchurch and a DC-3 to Whangarei.
1966, 29 January
OFFICIAL OPENING OF AUCKLAND INTERNATIONAL AIRPORTThe major airlines had been using the airport at Mangere since mid-November 1965 but the official opening did not take place until 29 January 1966. Several different souvenir covers were produced and the Post Office used a special commemorative handstamp on mails posted in connection with the opening ceremony.
1966, 28 February
FINAL FLIGHTS OF SOUTH PACIFIC AIRLINESOf New Zealand (SPANZ)were made over its routes which included Invercargill-Gore-Alexandra-Oamaru-Timaru-Christchurch-Masterton- Rotorua-Hamilton-New Plymouth-Auckland. The last flight from Invercargill to Auckland was carried out by DC-3 Viewmaster ZK-BYE "Jean Batten" (Captain R.A.L Anderson). SPANZ went into receivership on 30 November 1965 but flights had been guaranteed until the end of February, 1966.
1966, 1 March
NZNAC TOOK OVER SPANZ ROUTESReplacing the Douglas DC-3 with the Fokker Friendship.
1966, 1 March
CHRISTCHURCH-TIMARU-OAMARU AND VICE VERSAThis route, which had previously been flown by SPANZ was taken over by Mount Cook Airlines, using a Douglas DC-3. Christchurch-Timaru-Oamaru & return.
1966, 2 March
DUNEDIN-ALEXANDRA AND RETURNThis service previously operated by SPANZ, was taken over by Mount Cook Airlines using a Douglas DC-3.
1966, 1 June
ROTORUA-INVERCARGILL NZNAC SERVICEIntroduced Fokker Friendships to the Rotorua-Wellington-Christchurch-Invercargill route.
1966, 8 June
CHRISTCHURCH-MOUNT COOK AND RETURNService commenced by Douglas DC-3 of Mount Cook Airlines.
1966, 4 July
CRASH OF AIR NEW ZEALAND DOUGLAS DC-8 ZK-NZBDuring a training flight at Auckland. The pilot, Captain Don MacLachlan, and Flight Engineer Gordon Tonkin were killed. This airliner was used in earlier DC-8 inaugurations.
1967, 31 March
WEST COAST AIRWAYS LTDCeased its South Westland service. The company had taken over the service from NZNAC in November, 1956 after becoming a subsidiary of Southern Scenic Air Services Ltd.
1968, 8 January
FIRST ONE DAY FLIGHT NORTH CAPE TO BLUFF AND RETURNBy A. Israel and R. Laidlaw in a Mooney M2OC. Some unofficial mail may have been carried.
1968, 7-14 October
NZNAC INTRODUCED THE BOEING 737 "Twin Jet"On the main trunk service. The first mail carrying flight was made on 7 October when ZK-NAC (Capt. D. Gale, Capt. J.S. McLernon) inaugurated Flight 440 from Christchurch to Auckland. Mail flights in the opposite direction were commenced on the 14th by ZK-NAD (Capt. W.E. Schrader, Capt. R.J. Montrowe) on Flight 421 (which was the first scheduled Boeing 737 service) from Auckland to Dunedin via Wellington and Christchurch. On the same day, ZK-NAC (Capt. M.D. Cullinane, Capt. J.S. McLernon) flew from Dunedin to Auckland via Christchurch and Wellington.
1968, 14-15 October
MOUNT COOK AIRLINESIntroduced the Hawker Siddeley HS.748 ZK-CWJ on the Christchurch-Queenstown-Mount Cook route. Wind turbulence at Mount Cook airfield prevented the aircraft from landing there but it was put down safely on the Pukaki airstrip and mail for Mt Cook was sent there by car. On the following day ZK-CWJ made the first Christchurch-Mt Cook flight.
1968, 25-28 October
CHRISTCHURCH-TIMARU-OAMARUMount Cook Airlines introduced Hawker Siddeley HS.748 ZK-CWJ to this service. Covers from Christchurch were postmarked on 25 October and backstamped at Timaru the same day. Covers from Timaru were not returned to Christchurch until the 26th and those from Oamaru not until 28 October and both lots were backstamped on the days they were flown i.e. the 26th or 28th respectively.
1968, 19 December
CHRISTCHURCH-MOUNT COOK-QUEENSTOWN-MANAPOURIService was in augurated by HS.748 ZK-CWJ (Captain G.B. Williams). A small unofficial mail consisting mainly of printed souvenir covers showing a HS.748 over the Alps was flown. Covers for Mount Cook and Manapouri were posted on arrival at each place.
1968, 20 December
CHRISTCHURCH-HOKITIKA AND RETURNNZNAC began a service across the Southern Alps using Fokker Friendship ZK-BXI "Kotare" (Captain R.W. Patterson. First Officer R.F. Trowdale) to carry out the first flight.
1969, 9 October
NEW PLYMOUTH-GISBORNE-NEW PLYMOUTHSpecial "Tarapex" airmail flight in conjunction with the "Tarapex" National Philatelic Exhibition organised by the Taranaki Philatelic Society. Special Tarapex covers were flown on the regular NZNAC services between New Plymouth and Gisborne. Covers cancelled with the special Exhibition datestamp on 9 October 1969 were flown from New Plymouth and backstamped at Gisborne on the same day. Covers were also flown from Gisborne postmarked 9 October and received the Tarapex Exhibition datestamp that day. 250 covers were flown in each direction.
1969, 2 December
MOUNT COOK AIRLINESCommenced a service between Milford Sound-Queenstown-Alexandra-Dunedin-Te Anau-Mount Cook by De Havilland Canada D.H.C. Twin Otter ZK-CJZ [Captain Parker B. Mudge]. The mails flown Alexandra-Dunedin and Dunedin-Alexandra were sanctioned by the Post Office but other stages were unofficial and this mail was posted on arrival at the various stops. Some covers were datestamped 3 December in error but the flights were made on the 2nd.
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1969, 16 December
50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIRST OFFICIAL FLIGHTCarrying mail in New Zealand. The Air Mail Society of N.Z. requested the Post Office to issue the new 4d pre-stamped Queen Elizabeth Air Mail envelope on the 16 December to coincide with the Anniversary, and this was done. The Society applied two large square cachets to flown envelopes. Those posted at Auckland bore the cachet struck in violet and those posted at Dargaville were struck in green. Both postings were addressed to Christchurch and were flown on the normal NZNAC service.
1970, 6 January
TAUPO-TURANGI HELICOPTER MAILFlown as part of the Taupo Centenary Celebrations. The helicopter, flown by T.H. Masters, carried six bags of mail (including souvenir covers) from Taupo-Turangi together with the Postmaster-General (Mr A. McCready). A large oval special datestamp depicting a helicopter was applied to the mail.
1970, 25-28 August
50th ANNIVERSARY OF FIRST CROSSINGBy air of Cook Strait by Captain Euan Dickson in 1920. The re-enactment flight was made by Mr C. Collings of the Canterbury Aero Club in the Club's Piper PA-28 Cherokee 235 ZK-CEH, leaving RNZAF Base, Wigram on 25 August and following the original 1920 route via Kaikoura, Blenheim, Rongotai and Trentham. Captain Dickson accompanied Mr Collings in the Cherokee. Special Illustrated souvenir covers, one for each direction, were produced by the Air Mail Society of N.Z. Different illustrated commemorative datestamps were applied at Christchurch on the 25th and at Wellington on the 28th.
1970, 19 October
ROTORUA-QUEENSTOWN BY MOUNT COOK AIRLINESHawker Siddeley HS.748 ZK-CWJ (Captain G.B. Williams, Captain A.J. McLeod) first mail flight. Mount Cook Airlines produced a souvenir cover and a commemorative datestamp was used at Rotorua Post Office.
1970, 31 October
OFFICIAL OPENING OF WESTPORT AIRPORTWhich had been reconstructed to take Fokker Friendship and larger aircraft. Special souvenir covers were printed and a commemorative postmark was used on the mail. The Nelson-Westport flight by N.Z. National Airways Corporation Fokker F-27 Friendship was the second aircraft to land at Westport Airport after the opening ceremony. (the first aircraft to land was a DC-3 carrying the Hon. J.B. Gordon M.P. and officials).
1970, 2 November
NZNAC COMMENCED FRIENDSHIP SERVICESFrom the new Kawatiri Airport, Westport on 2 November. Douglas DC-3s had been used previously.
1971, 16 May
LEAFLET DROP AT PALMERSTON NORTHA Jet Ranger helicopter ZK-HLG piloted by Mr M. Dellow dropped publicity leaflets prior to the opening of "Palmpex", the National Philatelic Exhibition which was being held at Palmerston North.
1971, 20 August
ROTORUA-CHRISTCHURCH AND VICE VERSANZNAC commenced a direct non-stop Fokker Friendship service.
1971, 24-25 October
INVERCARGILL-TIMARU-AUCKLANDCommemorative Flight. Mount Cook Airlines used its Britten-Norman Islander ZK-DBV (Captain D.G. Middleton) tore-enact the flight of 24-29 October, 1921 when D.H.9 D3139 was flown from Invercargill to Auckland, advertising the breakfast food, "Creamota". The company also took the opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities of the new Islander. A small unofficial pilot-signed mail was posted on arrival at the various stops. Invercargill-Timaru-Kaikoura-Wellington-Hawera-Auckland
1972, 5 April
NAC 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF CHRISTCHURCH TO AUCKLAND
1972, 27 April
EMERGENCY FLIGHT BY MOUNT COOK AIRLINESAircraft from Dunedin to Queenstown and return with mail when the road was blocked by a slip at Nevis Bluff following heavy rain and flooding. No identifying markings were applied.
1972, 7 June
OAMARU-CHRISTCHURCH AND RETURNNZNAC began a service between Oamaru-Timaru-Christchurch with Douglas DC-3 ZK-AOF "Skyliner Waitaki" (Captain M.H. Couper).
1972, 7 June
WELLINGTON-TIMARU AND RETURNService was inaugurated by NZNAC Friendship ZK-BXA "Kuaka" (Captain G.R. Graham, First Officer R. Arvidson).
1972, 27-28 November
MOUNT COOK-AUCKLAND VIA ROTORUAThis service was inaugurated on 27 November by Hawker Siddeley HS.748 (Captain A.J. McLeod, Captain G.L Small) when it flew from Mount Cook to Auckland, returning to Mount Cook on the 28th. A small unofficial mail was flown by courtesy and posted on arrival at each point. Some covers were incorrectly datestamped but were verified by Captain McLeod.
1973, 16 February
AIR NEW ZEALAND COURTESY FLIGHTFrom Christchurch Airport Local dignitaries and business people were taken on a flight aboard Douglas DC-10 "Tri-Jet" ZK-NZL (Captain P.F. La Couteur) which included a close view of the Southern Alps and Mount Cook before returning to Christchurch. A few souvenir covers were carried privately on this flight and were signed by the pilot. They were posted at the airport after the DC-10 landed.
1973, 20-22 February
EMERGENCY ARMY HELICOPTER MAILService between Culverden and Hanmer Springs, North Canterbury while the old Waiau Ferry Bridge, which gives access to Hanmer was under repair. Eight flights were made, the first on the afternoon of the 20th, followed by two morning and two afternoon flights on the 21st and the last from Hanmer, at 1.00pm on the 22 February. The N.Z. Army Bell 47G-3B2 Sioux helicopter NZ3708 was flown by lieutenant Colonel F.B. Poole. A large oval cachet reading "By Courtesy of - ARMY - AIRMAIL" was struck on mail carried on these flights.
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1973, 1 October
QUEENSTOWN-CHRISTCHURCH AND RETURNMount Cook Airlines HS.748 ZK-MCA made its first service flight on this route on 1 October. Pilot on the Queenstown-Christchurch service was Captain J.O.V. Thompson and on the return flight the pilot was Capt. P.B. Mudge. A small unofficial mail was flown by courtesy and signed by each pilot according to the route. Covers were posted on arrival at Christchurch and Queenstown.
1974, 1 April
CHRISTCHURCH-PALMERSTON NORTH AND VICE VERSANZNAC commenced a non-stop Fokker Friendship service.
1974, 1 April
CHRISTCHURCH-NAPIER AND VICE VERSANZNAC commenced a Friendship service, connecting with Gisborne. Christchurch-Napier-Gisborne & return
1974, 20 December
HAMILTON-DUNEDIN SERVICEBy NZNAC Boeing 737 ZK-NAJ. The route was Hamilton-Wellington-Christchurch-Dunedin and vice versa.
Acknowledgement to the Publisher
Kind permission for their material to be used on this website has been granted by:
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Box 29-144, Fendalton,
Air Mail Society of New Zealand website