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NZ farmer's secret WW2 aircraft collection of 60 years

Article about: Possibly one of the best "barn find" stories? Retired New Zealand farmer John Smith recently died leaving behind literally in his farm sheds a collection of WW2 aircraft he had pur

  1. #11


    Wonderful to see that there are still some of these aircraft surfacing after so many years..

    Hopefully they can be properly preserved and exhibited..


  2. #12


    Very nice to see people had the will, space and money to preserve the history.

    Just wait until my wife finds the Sherman Tank in the shed.

  3. #13


    I know that most of you guys from over there or down under get excited (and rightly so)
    about the possible restoration of the Mossie but I have to say, I really like those old P40s.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture NZ farmer's secret WW2 aircraft collection of 60 years  
    Live to ride -- Ride to live

    I was addicted to the "Hokey-Pokey" but I've turned
    myself around.

  4. #14


    Bet his relatives are like thank **** now lets sell this shit! Its like watching American pickers when the basically dead 99 year old wont sell any of the stuff those two conmen find under 10 tons of earth . How much is this skanky old rolax watch I will give you 5 bucks! Indian motorbike nahhhhhh noone wants them as they are old .....50 bucks! Rob

  5. #15


    Not everyone is solely driven by monetary gain bud. The aircraft are not being sold, but put on display at the Omaka Aviation Heritage museum, who with a team of volunteers are restoring them, before placing them on public display.

    Mosquito relocation – Classic Aero Machining Services and Engineering

  6. #16


    Great story!!
    Thanks Anderson.
    I like to see ole War Birds brought back to life.

    Semper Fi

  7. #17


    Peter Jackson's Omaka Aviation Heritage centre at Blenheim, NZ has restored the John Smith mosquito with first public engine run for 24 April 2022, ANZAC weekend. Let those Merlins sing!

    NZ farmer's secret WW2 aircraft collection of 60 years

  8. #18


    As a young pilot in the 1970s I read about these airframes in old back issues of New Zealand Wings magazines (possibly called Pacific Wings at one time), but those were pre internet days so information was scarce.

    Thus they were never really lost, or forgotten. They were really only awaiting their owner to pass away so that people with the resources could have a crack.

    If I recall correctly, New Zealand used the P-51D Mustang and DH Mosquito over North Korea? My geography teacher at school flew RNZAF DH Vampires in Korea. As a kid I Still remember watching Vampires taking off from base RNZAF Ohakea.

    NZ has quite a strong population of surviving DH Vampires.
    Last edited by Pacific Viking; 10-08-2022 at 06:37 AM. Reason: correcting typos

  9. #19


    My understanding is no RNZAF units served in the Korean war, though some former RNZAF airmen may have with the RAAF. The RNZAF was involved during the "Malaya Emergency", Vampires and Canberra bombers.
    There has always been out of sight aircraft living out a retirement on farms around the NZ countryside. Many years ago I went to a job interview on the Canterbury cropping farm. While at the farm I noticed the fuselage and wings of a DH Devon aircraft leaning beside a shelter belt of trees. The farmer told he he had formerly been a part owner in a ex RNZAF Mustang in flying condition, which had since been sold to a US buyer.
    Then there was the Ruhuhia aircraft bone yard at what became the Hamilton airport, that wasn't cleaned out until the 1960's, I can recall it being talked about when I was a kid. So wouldn't surprise me if more relics emerge from farm sheds in the future.

    NZ farmer's secret WW2 aircraft collection of 60 yearsNZ farmer's secret WW2 aircraft collection of 60 years

  10. #20


    Twin Merlin engines on song. The first firing up of the John Smith Mosquito in April 2022, 70 years after the last time the engines ran. The old bloke wearing hat briefly seen is John Smith's brother. Enjoy!


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