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Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



The New Zealand Gliding Association was formed at a meeting in Wellington on 20 June 1947 called to organise the aims and activities of enthusiasts. Gliding began in the early 1930s and when the Second World War broke out there were several clubs or groups.

During the four years after the establishment of the association in 1947, a great deal of work was done by the Civil Aviation Administration and gliding enthusiasts before airworthiness requirements were agreed on, a technical committee appointed to see to gliding matters (delegated by the Director of Civil Aviation), and rules and regulations compiled. A standard trainer, the Slingsby T31, was adopted. The Canterbury and Auckland clubs began to assemble kitsets, and club flying began in Auckland in July 1952. A privately owned Olympia was flying in Auckland from February 1950 and a private Prefect flew in Christchurch later that year. Both played a big part in arousing local interest. When the Prefect was transferred to Dunedin it led to the start of a club there.

The association's council and technical committee met in Auckland until the end of 1954 when the council moved to Christchurch. Auckland again became the headquarters for the council in 1958. The technical committee has always been in Auckland. The association's work is mainly concerned with the issuing of certificates and the approval of ground engineers, but it has given much help in forming clubs willing to accept guidance. In 1952 two clubs were functioning. By 1964 there were 25 clubs, more than 60 gliders, and over 1,000 members. The Gliding Kiwi, published quarterly, is the official organ of the New Zealand Gliding Association (Inc.).

The standard, as well as the amount of glider flying, has risen impressively. A “C” certificate corresponds to the private pilot's licence for power flying. Over 260 “C” certificates have been issued since 1955: 1955, 15; 1956, 20; 1957, 48; 1958, 54; 1959, 58; and 1960, 71.

More than 530 glider pilots now hold “C”certificates; 140 hold the “Silver C”, 20 the “Gold C”, and three the “Diamond C” certificate. The first holder of the “Diamond C” certificate, G. A. Hookings, was only the second person in the British Commonwealth to win this award.

In June 1965 at Gloucestershire, England, a New Zealand team competed unsuccessfully in the World Gliding Championships.

  • Achievements
  • March 1951: First major distance flight, by G. A. Hookings – 66 miles from Ardmore to Waharoa.

  • March 1952: Altitude gains of 7,380 ft by S. H. Georgeson; 10,300 ft by G. A. Hookings.

  • March 1953: Distance flight of 205 miles, from Christchurch to Dunedin, by S. H. Georgeson, with an absolute altitude of 22,000 ft en route.

  • December 1954: An absolute altitude of 30,400 ft by P. A. Wills.

  • October 1957: A distance flight of 270 miles, from Christchurch to Palmerston North, by K. Wakeman.

  • December 1957: A distance flight of 329 miles in three legs, by G. A. Hookings. Take off at Masterton, landing at Tutira. First flight in the British Commonwealth to exceed 500 kilometres.

  • December 1960: World gain of height record, by S. H. Georgeson, of 34,400 ft.

  • January 1962: World out and return record, Omarama-Hanmer-Omarama (400 miles), by S. H. Georgeson.

  • October 1962: Central Districts gliding championships (first formal gliding contest in New Zealand) held at Masterton — winner, S. H. Georgeson.

  • November 1963: First New Zealand gliding championships, held at Masterton — winner, J. D. S. Cooper.

  • January 1965: World out and return record, Omarama — Dillons Point — Omarama (466 miles), by S. H. Georgeson.


McLintock, Alexander Hare