Life in uniform

Aviators' Stories

A diverse Force

The Air Force has hundreds of uniformed personnel, supported by many hundreds of civilian NZDF staff.  Our people are highly trained and dedicated. They can spend time here in New Zealand, or based overseas assisting our allies.


Former infantry soldier earns wings in return to military

After growing up in Christchurch, Pilot Officer Ironside-Mateparae joined the New Zealand Army. He served for three-and-a-half years in the Infantry before the private’s eyes turned to the sky and he began thinking about a career change. Now, he has achieved his dream of becoming a pilot and has joined the rotary wing of the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

RNZAF Pilot Aviators Story
Swapping civvie street for service in the Air Force

RNZAF helps Devonport woman keep flying career alive

COVID-19 ended a lot of careers in the aviation industry, but Devonport’s Maya Tewhata-Low will still be airborne thanks to a fledgling career in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF). Aviator Tewhata-Low, 23, had been working as cabin crew for Virgin Australia before the pandemic closed the New Zealand base. That sparked her to look at the RNZAF and she has now graduated the 14-week recruit training at RNZAF Base Woodbourne. She will soon start training as a Flight Steward.

RNZAF Flight Steward Aviators Story
From the laboratory to the medical bay

Helping others top priority for Auckland Air Force Medic

Victoria Lu has graduated the 14-week recruit training at RNZAF Base Woodbourne and will now head to Burnham Military Camp, near Christchurch, to complete two-and-a-half years of medic training. It was the desire to help that was the main driver for Victoria to join the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), with Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief being top of the list for future deployments.

RNZAF Medic Aviators Story
Mission Success

Double search success for air warfare officer and Orion crew

A Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircrew searching for a missing Kiribati fishing boat had double success when they also found a second missing fishing crew drifting nearby. "When I woke up the next morning and saw the email they had been picked up successfully and they were all safe it was a good feeling. You can’t beat saving people,” says FLTLT Ngapo.

RNZAF AWO Mission Aviators Story

Communications in the field

The recent Royal New Zealand Air Force Communications and Information Systems Mechanic course culminated in Exercise Cold Sparks, which enabled the students to apply their knowledge, skills and attitudes in a remote simulated deployed environment.

RNZAF CISTECH Aviators Story
Last line of defence

Ensuring perfection - the role of the Safety & Surface Technician

The saying goes that you’re having a bad day if you need some of the gear the Royal New Zealand Air Force's Safety and Surface team looks after. The team deal with safety equipment designed for large fixed wing aircraft such as the Boeing B757 and the Hercules C-130, down to the smaller rotary aircraft like the A109 helicopters.

RNZAF S S Tech Aviators Story
Managing and maintaining the Air Force's weaponry

Whakatane woman's shot at diverse career with RNZAF weaponry

Whakatane’s Maddie Ireton, 18, joined straight from Whakatane High School after thinking about it for much of her time there and is now relishing her chance to learn the craft of taking care of the weaponry of the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).

RNZAF Weapons Tech Aviators Story
Opportunity and purpose generating a new and exciting career in the RNZAF

From forensics lab to Military Police

Hawke’s Bay’s Jess Kite was looking for opportunity and purpose when she joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) and she found it in the Military Police, whose job it is to protect the Defence Force’s people and resources from crime and keep sailors, soldiers and aviators safe in New Zealand and overseas.

RNZAF Military Police Aviators Story
Air Force Officer working abroad in support of multinational training exercise

In the heart of RIMPAC

A major international exercise involving more than two dozen nations and thousands of personnel has finished, with Group Captain Pete Gibson playing a key role in the United States based event.

RNZAF Officer Abroad Aviators Story
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