Ted Harvie
and his Gipsy Moth Records

Ted Harvie was an outstanding aviator from a very early age in life, and he simply lived for flying. Inspired by the pioneer aviators of his time, many of which he came to know as friends, he soon began to make his own incredible flights and notch up his own records.

For more about Ted Harvie, the man himself, please see his personal page by clicking here.

For more on his trip throughout New Zealand as a crew member on the "Southern Cross' flown by Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, see here.

For his individual aerial feats, read on.

Waikato Independent - Thursday 13th of July 1933




(By Telegraph - Press Association) New Plymouth, Wed.

A New Zealand altitude record for a light aeroplane was established at New Plymouth yesterday by E.F. Harvie, a member of the New Plymouth Aero Club, who reached a height of 18,400ft in a Western Federated Flying Club's Moth machine. The feat beats Miss Pauline Bennett's previous record of 18,000ft.

Mr Harvie, who is still under 21 years of age, is a son of the Rev. F. G. Harvie, formerly of Cambridge and now of Auckland, and a nephew of Mr A.N. de L. Willis and the Misses Willis of Cambridge.

The flight was made in perfect weather. A height of 17,000ft was reached in an hour, and the last 1400ft took 20 minutes.

At 18,400ft the aeroplane would drop 100ft slowly, and then recover, but would not go beyond that altitude.

The change in temperature during the descent, which took 20 minutes, resulted in violent temporary earache, but this was the only ill-effects suffered by Mr Harvie.

Mr Harvie joined Sir Charles Kingsford Smith's ground staff on his New Zealand tour early in the present year.He obtained his pilot's license only within the last fortnight, having taken up flying at New Plymouth, following his tour of the Dominion in the "Southern Cross".



Waikato Independent - 11th of November 1933




A representative of the Waikato Independent flew over Cambridge on Thursday in a Gipsy Moth 'plane piloted by Mr Ted Harvie, who is at present accumulating air time in order to qualify for his "B" license. The requirement is 100 hours.

So smooth was the take off from the showgrounds that the reporter was scarcely aware that we had left the ground until the plane rose clear of the surrounding trees and buildings.

The most striking sight that first met his eye was a remarkable contrast afforded by Lake Te Koutu Park lying next to the railway yards and neighbouring buildings. At present the park is looking at its best. From above the fresh green foliage surrounding the lake appeared in striking contrast against the decidedly less picturesque neighbouring area.

The Waikato River loses much of its impressiveness when seen from above, although it was possible to see the height of the banks between which the river ran.

The abruptness which the shopping area stops on the Leamington and Karapiro side of the town was most noticeable. On the further side of the river nothing but green fields and hedges and farm-houses can be seen.

The Railway line was the best guide for locating the various land-marks. St. Andrew's Church was easily picked out and also the most prominent business premises and other buildings in the town.

Closer scrutiny of back yards here and there revealed wives and daughters enjoying the sun sewing or reading in deck chairs. There was no difficulty in picking out people standing in doorways of several offices and buildings.

Owing to poor visibility Hamilton could not easily be seen at the altitude at which the 'plane was flying (about 500 feet). Pirongia seemed quite near, and the Sanatorium Hill looked almost low enough to jump over. Maungatautari looked as if it was only ten minutes' walk from the Post Office.


NB: Pirongia and Maungatautari are prominent volcano mountains on the western and southern horizons respectively from Cambridge.

Waikato Independent - Saturday 2nd of December 1933




In view of the fact that he is well-known in Cambridge as the result of his frequent visits to his relatives, Mr A.N. de L. Willis and the Misses Willis, the effort of Mr E.F. (Ted) Harvie to fly from the North Cape to the Bluff yesterday was watched locally with more than passing interest. The advice received here this morning that the flight had been entirely successful, and that in accomplishing the long journey in 16 hours, Mr Harvie had established an aviation record for New Zealand was received with much satisfaction and pleasure.

It is certain that numerous congratulations will go from Cambridge to Mr Harvie, who was accompanied on his trip by Miss Trevor Hunter, of Wanganui.

As is generally well-known here Mr Harvie is a son of the Rev. F. G. Harvie, Vicar of St Barnabas', Mount Eden, and Mrs Harvie, and is 21 years of age. he has an endorsed license, and has done 160 hours solo flying, a considerable portion of which was carried out in this district.

Route Of the Flight

A Press Association message from Invercargill last night stated that the distance covered on the flight totally 1168 miles and the actual flying time was 16 hours and 10 minutes. Mr Harvie, who arrived there at 7.57p.m., left Kaitaia at two o'clock in the morning for the North Cape, and after circling over the lighthouse, headed south on his long flight. Stops were made north of Auckland, at Auckland, Hawera, Wellington, Kaikoura, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill. Conditions generally were good throughout the flight, but the flyers found the temperature much colder coming down the South Island.

The flight was the longest yet made in New Zealand in one day, the previous being a journey by Squadron leader M. C. McGregor from Invercargill to Auckland on November 12, 1931.

Pilot's Comments

Mr Harvie said the success of the flight was mainly due to the machine and the ground organisation. he commented on the celebrity with which he was attended to at the different landing grounds. Both Mr Harvie and Miss Hunter were very tired on reaching Bluff, but were delighted with their outstanding achievement. For Mr Harvie it was the realisation of a long-cherished ambition.

"It was quite an unofficial flight," remarked Mr Harvie. "I have been anxious to accomplish it for three years, ever since Captain J. D. Hewett made his non-stop flight from Dunedin to Auckland. Now my ambition is realised. Sometimes the flight was tiring and monotonous and as we came south conditions got very cold, but there were some glorious colour effects and lovely views in the South Island.

"Ninety-five percent of the success of a flight such as this depends on the aircraft, its engine and on ground organisation. Had it not been for the reliability of the engine and the excellent ground organisation, the flight could not have made it in one day. I cannot speak too highly of the assistance I received from the ground staff on the various aerodromes."


You may be interested in the career of Miss Trevor hunter too. She was quite an extraordinary aviatrix in her own right. As she has no Cambridge connections i will write little, other than to say she was one of four female pilots who flew up to meet and guide in Jean Batten on her arrival at Mangere after her epic world record flight from England to New Zealand. Trevor later went on to join the ATA during the Second World War and ferried fighter planes from the factories to squadrons and units. To find out more about this women I suggest you track down a copy of Silver Wings: New Zealand Women Aviators by Shirley Laine (published by Grantham house in 1989). It is in most New Zealand libraries.

The photo above comes from The History of New Zealand Aviation by Ross McPherson and Ross Ewing.

Above: Teddy Harvie and Trevor Hunter in DH60 Gipsy Moth ZK-ABP taken during their epic flight.

Above: Silhouetted against a sunset, ZK-ABP makes its final approach into Invercargill completing the epic flight from the North Cape to the Bluff.

Here is a much more recent interview with Ted Harvie. It comes from The Dominion newspaper on the 28th of November 1983.

Historic flight re-enacted

By Russell Scoular

FIFTY YEARS AGO this week E F Harvie flew into aviation history when he became the first person to fly from North Cape to Bluff in a day.

In his Gipsy Moth with a friend along for the ride, he covered 2040 kilometres in 16 hours 10 minutes. Eight times along the way he landed for fuel.

On Thursday his nephew, Flight Lieutenant Donald Haggitt, will follow the route of 50 years ago in a Piper Warrior. but Mr Harvie, living in retirement in Miramar, won't be going along for the ride.

Asked yesterday if he would like to be on the Piper Warrior for what is expected to be a 12-hour flight, Mr Harvie said with a smile; "No thanks, nothing could be more boring."

A former chief inspector of air accidents, Mr Harvie, 71, will be in invercargill to toast his nephew's expected early evening arrival in the small plane.

But modern aviation does not appeal to the man whose entire working career was spent round aeroplanes.

"All the adventure has gone out of it," he said. "The modern aeroplane is a noisy little rattle-trap. Aeroplanes were considerably quieter 50 years ago."

A sense of adventure was what attracted Mr Harvie to try flying. And it led to him borrowing a plane from the Western Federated Flying Club - a group of clubs in Wanganui, Hawera and New Plymouth - to fly the length of New Zealand.

He had to take off from Kaitaia in the early morning, head north to round North Cape, then fly south to Auckland. Loaded into the cockpit were two tins of motor spirits. A farm paddock at Ruakaka was where Mr Harvie dropped in for his first of eight refuelling stops.

There were no problems in making the pioneering air journey. "Except round Wellington there was a gale blowing."

Asked how he remembered his long day in the air, Mr Harvie said: "Damn boring. We were just crawling along."

But what made it fun and brought the satisfaction to Mr Harvie and his passenger, miss Trevor Hunter, was the sense of adventure and uniqueness of flying.

"She came along just for the ride," Mr Harvie said. "She was pretty keen on flying and had done a bit herself."

Mr Harvie became a trained pilot in the same year he made his historic flight and after a career in aviation was chief inspector of air accidents from 1968 till his retirement in 1977.


Thanks To Glenda Gale for providing the 1983 interview

For the full story on Ted Harvie's flying career in his own words, plus that of many other pioneers aviators that he was associated with before the war, I highly recommend his excellent book 'Venture Far Horizons'. Check your local library for a copy, or try ebay or ABE books.

See more on Ted Harvie here

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