DH 82 Tiger Moth

The Tiger Moth was in widespread use with aero clubs in New Zealand prior to World War Two. The first RNZAF aircraft consisted of twenty-one impressed from eleven aero clubs, and three new aircraft that were about to be delivered to those civilian organizations. More British-built machines were received before the de Havilland factory at Rongotai began production.

This factory produced 345 Tiger Moths for the RNZAF until production ceased in the mid 1940s. With the advent of significant numbers of Tiger Moths in the country, new RNZAF training schools were established with existing schools (such as Bell Block at New Plymouth) being re-equipped. Tigers were also usually attached to RNZAF stations as general communications aircraft. The need for trained pilots diminished as the war came to a close, and many Tiger Moths were put into storage at Taieri near Dunedin. While aircraft were retained for military use with the four territorial squadrons, and later with the Compulsory Military Training Scheme, tenders between 1946 and 1956 sold the bulk of aircraft. In all, 210 RNZAF Tiger Moths found their way on to the civil register. The aircraft played an important role with aero clubs and the fledging topdressing industry post-war, and an increasing number of these vintage aircraft are now being restored. The impressive number of DH 82s present today are a testament to the quality and number of aircraft being restored by and for enthusiastic owners.