An Unofficial Guide To The
Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum

Staff and Volunteers - Wigram



The following people have worked for the museum, or have given their time and effort towards the restoration and upkeep of the aircraft and facilities. This list is by no means complete and if you can add in any other names, please contact me.


Director of the RNZAF Museum

The RNZAF Museum Trust Board

The Black Hand Gang

The Black Hand Gang - Volunteers

The Geriatric Air Force

The Moth Doctors

The Museum Guides

The Archivists

The Shop Staff

Friends of The RNZAF Museum

Other Contributors

The RNZAF Museum Ohakea Wing

Director of The RNZAF Museum

Squadron Leader Tom Anderson

Squadron Leader John Barry (1978 - Feb 1993)

Squadron Leader Dave Provan (Feb 1993 - ?)

Mrs Therese Angelo

The RNZAF Museum Trust Board

The RNZAF Musuem Trust Board was set up on the 30th of August 1979 to oversee the running of the museum.

The Current (2009) Board members include:


Position on Board


Air Vice Marshall Peter Adamson, CB, OBE, RNZAF Rtd., former RNZAF Chief of Air Staff

Air Commodore Gavin Howse, ONZM, AFC, Deputy Chief of Air Force, RNZAF

Air Commodore Graeme Goldsmith, CBE, AFC, RNZAF Rtd.

Dame Cheryll Sotheran, DNZM Sector Director, Creative & Tourism, NZ Trade and Enterprise

Mr John Mounce, Aviation Consultant

Cr Bob Shearing, Christchurch City Councillor

Mr Peter Townsend, Chief Executive of Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce

Mrs Therese Angelo Director of the RNZAF Museum










Also attend meetings


For historical interest, the original 1979 line up on the board were as follows:

The 1979 RNZAF Museum Trust Board


Position on Board

Air Vice Marshall D.E. Jamieson OBE Chief of Air Staff

Air Commodore Ian M. Gillard OBE AFC Deputy Chief of Air Staff

Mr. W.D. Leuchars MBE ED President NZ RSA

Group Captain Pat Neville OBE AFC AOC, RNZAF Support Group

Mr. D.G.B. McLean MSc. MA (Hons) Secretary of Defence

Mr. R.G. Richardson NZ Federation of Brevet Clubs

Air Vice Marshall C.A. Turner CB CBE RNZAF Rtd. Dominion President RNZAF Association

Dr. John Yaldwyn PhD (Director, National Museum)









And the 1988 Trust Board was thus:

The 1988 RNZAF Museum Trust Board


Position on Board

Air Marshall Sir Richard Bolt, RNZAF Rtd.

Air Commodore A.E. Thomson, AOC, RNZAF Support Group

Mr. J. McCrea, General Manager Operationss and Personnel, Air New Zealand

Mr Warren Hunt (Hon. Group Captain)

Sir Robertson Stewart (Christchurch businessman)

Air Marshall David Crooks, RNZAF Rtd.

Dr. John Yaldwyn (National Museum)

Dr. M. McNamara

Flight Lieutenant L. Sommer

Group Captain Ross Donaldson (Base Commander, RNZAF Wigram)

Squadron Leader John Barry (Director of the RNZAF Museum)










Also attend meetings

Also attend meetings


The Black Hand Gang


The Black Hand Gang is the nickname of those who get or got their hands dirty in the restoration workshops at the Museum. They are the fine highly skilled craftsmen who have restored many wrecks back to pristine aircraft now on display at Wigram

Restoration Team - RNZAF Full Time Staff

Aircraft Restoration Flight Commanders

Sqn Ldr William 'Sandy' Currie ( 1980 - August 1992)

Warrant Officer Dave Mitchell (Aug 1992 - ?)

Warrant Officer Dennis Gibbons (? - May 2007)

Warrant Officer Dan Thomas (May 2007 - present)


Other Staff

Flight Sergeant Alan Woodley

F/Sgt George Januzemis

F/Sgt Jerry Marshall

Sergeant Kevin Bennett (Acquisitions and Storage, retired January 1993)

Sgt Lyn Buttle

Corporal Dave Nicholson

Corporal John Harris (Safety and Surface - till 1993)

Corporal Steve Leach (Safety and Surface - 1993 till ?)

Corporal Adrian Benny (Safety and Surface)

and many more...

The Black Hand Gang ex-Military and Civil Volunteer Staff

Bill Weir

Brian Roberts

Bill Valendar

Les Heath

Sgt L. Bell

Phillip Whitcombe

Bernie Streeter

Arthur Henry

Brian Smith

Doug Gillian

Jim Wright

Sandy Currie

Jack Simpson

Ross Townsend

Tom Ramsay

John McKim

Bill Fitzharding-Jones


The Volunteer Team that restored the TBF-1 Avenger at Wigram in the late 1970's

Flight Lieutenant Paul Harrison (Team Leader)

Flight Lieutenant Kel Aldridge

F/Sgt George Januzemis

Sgt Pete Tolhoek

Corporal Trevor Wood

And a group of weekend helpers including ATC cadets, among whom were Barry Tod and Ken Tod

The Geriatric Air Force

The Geriatric Air Force was the fine band of men and women who formed in the early 1980's to set to and sort out the masses of equipment and parts in store with the museum. Some catalogued everything, others cleaned up parts and made them usable, whilst others sorted tiny screws and nuts and bolts into the right jars, etc. They also sorted out all the publications that would help to put old aircraft back together. Their base was at Weedons, and without them the restoration work would have taken much longer and been much less smooth a job. They had their own badge, the RNZAF Eagle as worn on sleeves in WWII but with a bowler hat, spectacles, a pipe and other accoutrements. The GAF members were mostly ex-RNZAF or WAAF, with others being ex-NAC, etc., and they included among its ranks:

Russell Orr

Brian Cox

Max Ruane

Pat O'Sullivan

Bill Southgate

Ian Martin

Frank Eichbaum

Laurie Purdie-Smith

Alec McGregor

Jack Maloney

Murray McGill

Bill Ashwell

Frank Mushet

Lois Cole

Celia Waite

Alison Braithwaite

Errol Braithwaite

John McDonald

Keith Clark

Heywood Foster

The Moth Doctors


The Moth Doctors were a small team who set to work and restored the Tiger Moths for the museum, including the one on display in the Atrium and the one which later went to the Central Flying School Historic Flight and is based at Ohakea. Their expert members included:

Johnny Checketts

Bernie Creedons

George Kingsbury

Bob Swadel


The Museum Guides


The Museum Guides were another wonderful bunch of volunteers, and one of the few volunteer units still in operation today. They all love to give up a day or two in their week to show members of the public around the museum. Most are ex-RNZAF, many served in WWII.

The following guides were those who worked in the Museum when it first opened in 1987, as per their rostered days:

David Barker
Harvey Hammersley
Margaret Hilton
Trevor Husband
Maurice Johnston
Pam Simpson
Charles Tapper
Peter Street
Jack Taylor
Warren Bennett
Tony Leach
Tom Ramsay
Shirley Rudd
Laurie Turner
Bill Vallender
Bert Walker
Min Watson
Jim Henderson
Ted Fancy
Maurice Marshall
Jean Angelo
Douglas Edwards
John Erickson
Yorkie Glentworth
Ron Henry
Arnold Hoyle
Roy Waterman
Gordon Holmes
Laurie Edwards

Kathleen Almond
Noeline Allen
Curly Bell
Maud Cherie
Ian Comrie
Eddie Edwards
Ted Garrick
Alan Frewer
Matt Allen
Bob Elson
Barbara Elson
Ian Leith
Barney Maloney
Mary Maloney
Neville Staples
Jim Young
Bob Aitken
Pat Burke
Rita Cuff
Reg Dear
Les Drury
Erle Duxbury
Flavia White

Pat Barry
Eddie Carruthers
Les Farnley
Geoff Harrison
Ian Latter
Phil Whitcombe
Graham Johnstone
Rose-Marie Barry
Betty Barry

As the years have gone by since 1987 many more guides have joined the team, and others have left or passed away. Additional names to the above who've been guides since 1987 are:

Errol Braithwaite (former WWII Air Gunner and well known author, now dead)

C.A. "Colin" Bailey (former Navigator)

Don Dean

Colin Rudd (former pilot)


If you can add the names of any other guides to this page, please contact me.


The Archivists


Mrs "Terry" Dowman - Research Officer

Mrs Therese Angelo

Jane Provan - Former Curator

Vicky Garvington - Current Curator

Matthew O'Sullivan - RNZAF Photographs Archivist


The Shop Staff




Friends of the RNZAF Museum

Formed in 1984 to raise interest in and funds for the RNZAF Museum. Organisers have included:

Air Chief Marshall Sir Richard Bolt (rtd.) - National President

Air Commodore John McDowell (rtd.) - Auckland

Wing Comm E.K. Marr - Waikato

Gp Capt I.R. Mitchell - Poverty Bay

Sqn Ldr Eric D. McCabe - Hawkes Bay

Sqn Ldr I.R. Moller - Taranaki

Sqn ldr P.L.D. Cummins (Manawatu/Wanganui)

Gp Capt A. Fred Tucker (Wellington/ Wairarapa)

F. Terry (Marlborough)

Sqn Ldr K. Lumsden (Nelson/West Coast)

Wg Comm John R. Claydon (Canterbury)

Stuart C. Scott (Otago/Southland)


Other Contributors to the RNZAF Museum


Museum Management Committee members - Group Captain G.C. Hubbard, Squadron Leader Ian McBride, Squadron Leader 'Bud' Mills, Squadron Leader Bill Chappell, Flight Lieutenant Mike Bain, Squadron Leader John Francis

Sqn Ldr Dave Frowen (Model Making Co-ordinator)

Rex Crawford (Museum Modelling Consultant)

Modellers whose models are on display in the musuem include: Mike Barlow, Jan Bell, Clem Boyd, Alan Boyd, Dennis Christiansen, John Cooms, Rex Crawford, Bill Fitzharding-Jones, Dave frowen, Trevor Gibling, Ross Giddy, Air Commodore John Gordon, Graham Hosie, Cliff Jenks, Steven Jenks, Dave Lochead, Tom Mayer, Brent Peacock, David Roberts, Brian Smith, Murray Smith, Dave Stewart and Paul Tibbutt.

Harvey Courtman (Display Case design)

LAC Dave Nicholson (Lighting)

Alan Polashek (Awards, Medals and Accoutrements Consultant)

Dr. D.A. Larnder (Awards, Medals and Accoutrements Consultant)

Mr W.L. Harrington-Hutchings (Aviation Library)

Warren P. Russell (Aircraft Colour Schemes and Markings)

Errol Martyn (NZ Military Aviation History 1909-1939)

Dr. Vincent Orange (NZ Military Aviation History NZ'ers in the RAF 1937-1945)

David Duxbury (NZ Military Aviation NZ'ers in Singapore and Pacific 1940-1945)

Cliff Jenks (NZ Military Aviation History post-1945)


Staff and Volunteers - Ohakea



Squadron Leader Miles Pointon

Peter Strugnell (1978-1993)

Peter Calkin (1993-2005)

Paul Gibson (2005 - 2007)


Other Full Time Staff

Margaret Calkin (Cafe manager)

Alan Peck

Glenda ??


Don Simms

Glen Turner