The ubiquitous Dakota has played a significant role in the development of aviation in New Zealand. As the C-47, it served in the RNZAF from 1943 to 1979. It flew with the national airline for a significant period, was used for aerial top dressing up until the 1980’s, and flew commercially carrying mail and freight into the 1990’s.
The remaining Dakotas in this country are used within the tourist industry, offering the chance to experience flying in an aircraft from a bygone era. The Dakota attending the show, ZK-DAK was built in Oklahoma City in 1943, and spent the majority of its existence flying in the Philippines and Australia. It was purchased by Warbirds of New Zealand in 1987 and painted to represent the aircraft flown by Rex Daniell (originally from Masterton) on D-Day. It regularly flies joyriders around Auckland from its Ardmore base on weekends.