Royal New Zealand Air Force

The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) (Māori: Te Tauaarangi o Aotearoa, "New Zealand Warriors of the Sky"; previously Te Hokowhitu o Kahurangi, "War Party of the Blue"[6]) is the air force component of the New Zealand Defence Force. It was formed from New Zealand elements of the British Royal Air Force, becoming an independent force in 1923, although many RNZAF aircrew continued to serve in the Royal Air Force until the end of the 1940s.

Royal New Zealand Air Force
Māori: Te Tauaarangi o Aotearoa
Founded1913 (first military aviation)
1923 (New Zealand Permanent Air Force formed)
1 April 1937 (independent service)
Country New Zealand
TypeAir force
RoleMaritime patrol, air transport
SizeAvailable: 2,834
  • 2,516 Full Time
  • 318 Reserves[1]
  • 49 aircraft[2]
Part ofNew Zealand Defence Force
Motto(s)Latin: Per Ardua ad Astra
"Through Adversity to the Stars"
MarchRoyal New Zealand Air Force March Past
Anniversaries1 April 1937
Commander-in-ChiefGovernor-General Dame Patsy Reddy[4]
Chief of the Defence ForceAir Marshal Kevin Short
Chief of the Air ForceAir Vice Marshal Andrew Clark[5]
Deputy Chief of the Air ForceAir Commodore Ian Mower
Pilot's Flying Badge
Fin flash
Aircraft flown

The RNZAF fought in World War II, Malaya, Korean War, Vietnam and the Gulf War as well as undertaking various United Nations peacekeeping missions. From a 1945 peak of over 1,000 combat aircraft the RNZAF has shrunk to a strength of around 49 active aircraft in 2021, primarily focusing on maritime patrol and transport duties in support of the Royal New Zealand Navy and the New Zealand Army. The RNZAF's air combat capability ended in 2001, under the Fifth Labour Government with the disbanding of the A-4 Skyhawk and Aermacchi MB-339 based squadrons.

The Air Force is led by an air vice-marshal who holds the appointment of Chief of Air Force. The RNZAF motto is the same as that of the Royal Air Force, Per ardua ad astra, meaning "Through adversity to the stars".[7]