Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Previously unseen Archives New Zealand UAP file now available in digitized form

In a 14 July 2017 blog post, Melbourne researcher Paul Dean described locating a number of UAP related files on the  Archives New Zealand website. In that blog, Paul wrote:

"New Zealand’s atmospheric and meteorological agencies maintained UFO–related files too, The first item is titled, “Meteorological Office: Research: Meteorological – Unidentified Flying Objects”, and its record number is “42/6/23”. The date range of this file is 1968 to 1984. The originating and controlling agency for this file is the Head Office of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Limited (NIWAR). This quasi–government entity is described, in government organizational chronologies, as a “…Crown owned research and consulting company with expertise in water and atmospheric research”. The file is listed as “Open Access”. This is interesting, as the NIWAR was engaged in meteorological and atmospheric study, so any evaluation or assessment of the UFO issue by competent scientists is obviously valuable to researchers. Also, like other New Zealand UFO files, this item is listed as being “Part 1”, which implies a continuation of the file well beyond the mid–1980’s. No more “parts”, however, are listed when performing archival searches. As for the contents, one hopes that NIWAR conducted a reasonable degree of primary research into the UFO issue, possibly studying unknown cases, and dealing directly with other New Zealand agencies. More likely, however, is that the file contains low–level sighting reports, collections of local newspaper articles, and other mundane items. Previous experience suggests New Zealand’s atmospheric and meteorological agencies maintained UFO–related files too, The first item is titled, “Meteorological Office: Research: Meteorological – Unidentified Flying Objects”, and its record number is “42/6/23”. The date range of this file is 1968 to 1984. The originating and controlling agency for this file is the Head Office of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Limited (NIWAR). This quasi–government entity is described, in government organizational chronologies, as a “…Crown owned research and consulting company with expertise in water and atmospheric research”. The file is listed as “Open Access”. This is interesting, as the NIWAR was engaged in meteorological and atmospheric study, so any evaluation or assessment of the UFO issue by competent scientists is obviously valuable to researchers. Also, like other New Zealand UFO files, this item is listed as being “Part 1”, which implies a continuation of the file well beyond the mid–1980’s. No more “parts”, however, are listed when performing archival searches. As for the contents, one hopes that NIWAR conducted a reasonable degree of primary research into the UFO issue, possibly studying unknown cases, and dealing directly with other New Zealand agencies. More likely, however, is that the file contains low–level sighting reports, collections of local newspaper articles, and other mundane items. Previous experience suggests the contents of “Meteorological Office: Research: Meteorological – Unidentified Flying Objects” is somewhere in the middle."

The other day, after locating, and blogging about,  one digitized UAP file on the Archives New Zealand website; by using different search terms I was able to locate a second digitized UAP file. This turned out to be the previously unseen file, 42/6/23, described by Paul.



The contents

The file, including the front cover, is 311 images in length, and as Paul said covers the years 1968-1984. It does include a large range of low-level, mainly lights in the sky, type sightings, submitted by the general public. However, it does also provide details of sightings from ships, e.g. the "Tasman Enterprise" 1 January 1978 (image FL62798595); and Air Traffic Controllers, (a) e.g. a 1972 white light  which approached an airfield, then departed, and which was not visible on radar. No known aircraft were in the area at the time (image FL62798573.) (b) e.g. a radar/visual observation dated 13 March 1977, involving Wellington Air Traffic Control (image FL62798580.)

Other agencies

It also provides copies of correspondence between Meteorological Services and other agencies of the New Zealand government which give an insight into internal government policy about the topic of UAP. Some examples are shown below:

Dated 1 April 1968, a letter from the New Zealand Air Force Headquarters, invited the Director of Meteorological Services to an "informal meeting" about UFOs on 10 April 1968. Other participants in this meeting were individuals from the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research; the Carter Observatory; the Department of Civil Aviation; Ministry of Defence, and the NZ Air Force (Image FL62798710.)


For further details on the New Zealand investigating committee, click here

Dated 14 December 1971, the Directorate of Service Intelligence, Ministry of Defence wrote to various agencies including Meteorological Services, about a UAP observation by Traffic Officer, Robert W. Munn, on 9 December 1971, over Wellington. A representative of the Ministry had interviewed Munn  and provided details to the agencies about the sighting (Image FL62798639.)


Dated 15 September 1972, there is a "confidential" letter from the Ministry of Defence to the Director, Meteorological Services concerning" Unidentified objects of foreign origin." It opens with "Recent experience has suggested the need for arrangements for the official examination of unidentified objects of foreign origin landing in New Zealand." The objects of concern are space debris and Soviet oceanographic equipment washed up on New Zealand shores. The letter goes on to ask that any reported objects drawn to the attention of Meteorological offices, be referred to the Joint Intelligence Bureau, Ministry of Defence (Image FL62798851.) The Ministry stated "That it would be appreciated if the interest of this Ministry in unidentified objects of foreign origin could be treated as classified information." (Image FL62798693.)




Paul Dean had come across the details of a relevant file, and in his 2017 blog he wrote:

"Possibly related to the above Police holdings is a file titled “Unidentified Objects of Foreign Origin”. The record number is “48/65/2” and the date range is listed as 1972 to 1973. Also, the file is listed as “Part 1”. This implies that there may be more “parts” to this file, but none are listed in the Archival system. Also, the file is falls in a “Defence Documents” accession category, and is a considered “Restrictions May Apply” item. Importantly, the agency responsible for creating this file was the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR). The DSIR provided scientific and technical services to the New Zealand government before being dissolved and reorganized in 1992. It is likely that this file relates to the 1972 space debris re–entries discussed previously. Both the date range and the title of the file are the two main giveaways. Moreover, we know that the DSIR was involved in assessing pieces of crashed space junk shortly after they were discovered. DSIR’s involvement in space debris analysis came to light in the New Zealand press, but also through documents released by America’s Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) and State Department."

As far as can be determined this file has not yet been digitized.  

Dated 30 March 1984, is a letter from  the External Intelligence Bureau of the Prime Minister's Department, Wellington, to Radio Hauraki responding to a request from the station regarding information from the Bureau's files about "...extra-terrestrial spacecraft and/or occupants that have landed or been sighted in New Zealand territory." The Bureau advised that they had no information on this subject, but did confirm that they played a coordinating role in the study of  space objects that have landed in New Zealand, e.g. satellites (Image FL62798700.)



General correspondence

There are numerous letters between individuals, both in New Zealand and overseas, and the Meteorological Services. They deal with requests for information about the famous 1978 Kaikoura lights sightings; including letters from MUFON New Zealand; US researchers Robert Sheaffer and Peter Sturrock; and the ex Director of the South Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Alan Brunt. 

In summary

As always, a detailed reading of any archived UAP file always reveals a few details which were previously not know. I am sure that any researcher in New Zealand will be able to add to the few examples which I have provide above, by reading through the file.

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