Old photo
1903
The first powered take-off in New Zealand was achieved on 31 March at Waitohi, near Temuka, when Richard Pearse flies his homebuilt craft 150 yards. His aircraft is powered by a two cylinder engine of his own design and construction.
This was only the sixth powered take-off in the world.
1910
George Bolt and friends R.D. Wraight and W.M. Angus form the Canterbury Aero Club, become involved in gliding experiments from the Christchurch's Cashmere Hills.
1911
On 5 February, brothers Leo and Vivian Walsh make the first successful controlled flight in a locally built Howard Wright biplane, with the plane rising to 60 feet and staying aloft to cover a distance of 400 yards.
1914
Joe Hammond, the first government-appointed pilot in New Zealand, flies over Auckland in a Bleriot monoplane to the awe of spectators at the Auckland Exhibition. JWH Scotland makes first long-distance flight, from Invercargill to Gore. He flies the 38 miles in 38 minutes.
1915
The brothers Leo and Vivian Walsh fly the first flying-boat on Auckland Harbour, and later form the New Zealand Flying School to train flying-boat pilots.
1917
Sir Henry Wigram forms the first NZ commercial airline, the Canterbury Aviation Company.
1920
On 25 August, Captain Euan Dickson and two passengers make the first flight across Cook Strait, from Blenheim to Wellington, with a flying time of 2 hours 20 minutes.
1920
The first long-distance passenger flight is made between Invercargill and Auckland in a time of 8 hours 50 minutes, by the NZ Aero Transport Company. This "Creamoata" Flight is commercially sponsored by WHP Fleming and Company.
1923
Arrow Aviation is formed by Maurice "Buck" Buckley at Hokitika, with an Avro 540k. Canterbury Aviation is taken over by the newly established New Zealand Permanent Air Force.
1924
Buckley makes the first flight over Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers and around Mt Cook, and in June he makes the first flight across the Southern Alps, from Greymouth to Christchurch, in 1.5 hours. Also in 1924, the Walsh brothers' New Zealand Flying School is incorporated into the New Zealand Permanent Air Force.
1928
First trans-Tasman flight is completed by Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith and CTP Ulm on 11 September. They fly a Fokker monoplane from Sydney to Christchurch in 14 hours 25 minutes. A crowd of 35,000 people are there to greet the triumphant landing. Kingsford-Smith's second trans-Tasman flight lands at New Plymouth on 11 January 1933.
1929
5 November - The Wellington Aero Club was established after "The Evening Post" generously donated a Simmons Spartan aircraft. Two weeks later, the newly formed club hosted an air pageant involving an air race, aerial battle and flying competitions. Early membership of the club included a Mr FC Chichester whose remarkable flight from England to Australia is noted in the club's first annual report.
1930
Air Travel is formed by Squadron leader MC MacGregor and FM Clarke, to make regular freight deliveries between Christchurch and Dunedin. The company closes after one year.
1934
Air Travel (NZ) Ltd is founded by Captain Bert Mercer and begins operations on the West Coast of the South Island. Its first scheduled air services commence on 18 December and scheduled airmail services on 31 December.
1935
East Coast Airways Limited and Cook Strait Airways are established.
1936
Union Airways is established by the Union Steamship Company.
1936
Jean Batten and Ernle Clark complete solo flights from England to New Zealand. JD Hewitt flies from Dunedin to Auckland non-stop in 10 hours in a Gipsy Moth.
1937
Pan American Airways and Imperial Airlines (later British Airways) bring first flying-boat long-distance flights into New Zealand. The first flight to splashdown is piloted by Captain Edwin Musick. The Honolulu-Auckland route uses Boeing 314s which can carry an unprecedented 74 passengers.
1938

AE Clouston, a New Zealand test pilot, and Englishman Victor Ricketts made the first direct trip from England to New Zealand and back to England in a De Havilland Comet long distance racer. In the course of the round trip the following air speed records were broken:
London - Sydney and Sydney to London
Australia - England and England - Australia - England
New Zealand - England and England - New Zealand - England
Darwin - Sydney and Sydney - Darwin
Sydney - Blenheim and Blenheim - Sydney
Source: A.E. Clouston, "Dangerous Skies", pub. Cassell 1954, 1st edition. reprint

1942
A Pan American Boeing completes the longest ever flight, 31,500 miles from Auckland to New York, via Noumea, Queensland, Ceylon, Karachi, Bahrain, Khartoum, Leopoldville, Brazil and Trinidad.
1945
National Airways Corporation is established by the Government to provide domestic air services. The new Corporation takes over Union Airways, Cook Strait Air, and West Coast Air Travel, which continue as named airlines until mid-1947. The new corporation turns a profit in 1947-48, its first full flying year.
1947
Southern Scenic Air Services is formed in 1947 by Fred "Popeye" Lucas and Bill Hewitt. In 1956, a subsidiary of the company, West Coast Airways is formed.
1949
Tasman Empire Airways Limited (TEAL, which later becomes Air New Zealand) establishes trans-Tasman flight service. In 1950 it adds flights to Suva, in 1951 to more distant islands, and in 1954 to Noumea. TEAL's Coral Route (Auckland-Suva-Apia-Akiama-Papeete) becomes "the" route for international air travellers to fly.
1952
Canadian Pacific Airlines begins operations between New Zealand and Canada.
1956
Mt Cook Airlines is founded when the Mt Cook and Southern Lakes Tourist Company expands its operation to include air services of the Queenstown & Mt Cook Airways company, originally founded during the 1930s.
1957
TAI (later UTA-Air France) begins service between Auckland and Noumea.
1960
South Pacific Airlines of New Zealand begins domestic operations. Work begins on the new Auckland International Airport at Mangere.
1965

TEAL is renamed as Air New Zealand. The first commercial international flight into the as yet unfinished Auckland International Airport on 20 July is an Air New Zealand DC8, landing after a non-stop 13 hour flight from California. This landing marks the opening of the airline's hangar, workshop, catering and training complex at the new airport.

  New Zealand aviation history has not always been well-documented.
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