The Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum in Christchurch is a “must see” for anyone even remotely interested in military aviation. The museum is extremely well laid out and thoughtfully appointed with a variety of collections.  What the museum does so  very well is accurately and sympathetically paint a picture of the distinguished service to county of the RNZAF.  There are, of course, exemplary displays of airplanes.  The aircraft in the main gallery are interestingly placed in simulated “real world” surroundings similar to those in which they saw service.

Lighting is used effectively to both illuminate and illustrate the aircraft and their settings. Main Gallery Displays Beyond the aircraft displays, one finds a wealth of interesting and very personal collections of mementos, personal articles, as well as individual uniform and equipment items.  These displays put real faces and personalities behind the articles and photos in the case.  Also, of interest, are the many displays of pieces of aircraft equipment like instruments, engines and the like. On the second floor is a carefully re-created family “home” from the World War 2 period.  Complete with typical consumer items, this display gives one a distinct feel for life during that era.  Finally, an interesting and often overlooked portrait gallery pays tribute to the persons behind the Royal New Zealand Air Force throughout its illustrious history.

Not to be missed is the tour of the restoration hanger. Aircraft in Restoration Hanger Fascinating views of the aircraft undergoing meticulous restoration for the museum are featured on this tour along with a knowledgeable and genial narrative by a museum guide.

Admission to the museum is free at all times.  The restoration hanger tour costs $8 NZ and is worth every bit of that. Main Entry to RNZAF MuseumThe museum is easy to get to by city bus or by car.  A large parking area is available immediately outside the museum entrance.  A very nice café is in the lobby as is a great museum shop.  The museum’s website gives excellent information on location, access and opening hours. This is a real gem in Christchurch.  Don’t miss it!