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Royal New Zealand Air Force


page 11



The Government to make provision for the development of Aviation along lines which will enable the Dominion to possess civil aviation for commercial and other needs and at the same time provide for the necessities of aerial defence in case of emergency.

Establish an Air Board (already constituted) which will act as an Advisory Body to the Government on:


Matters of Defence


Commercial Undertakings


Aviation Generally



To advise the Government with respect to:


Purchase, rent and preparation of key aerodromes.


Purchase and maintenance of war aeroplanes, inspection of all Aviation Schools and their equipment by Defence Staff.


Refresher courses for ex R.A.F. fighters.


Defence machines which may be allotted to civil companies.

Survey of routes to be undertaken by officers of the Aviation Branch of the Defence Department, or any competent Aviator deputed by the Air Board.



As Defence Aviation owing to the great cost involved, cannot be developed without the development of the commercial side, the Air Board will advise the Government with respect to:


Companies or private individuals that may be subsidised for the conveyance of mails, passengers, etc., on approved routes.


The allotment by way of loan or otherwise of Government machines.


Inspection of privately owned machines.


Regarding the reservation of rights of particular companies or individuals to fly for hire within prescribed areas.

The Board to make recommendations as to contracts to be entered into for the carriage of mails, passengers, etc. All contracts to be submitted for approval to the Minister in charge and the Postmaster-General and to be confirmed by both.



Attention to be paid to meteorological conditions and the Board to recommend in what direction assistance should be given to the Meteorological Department with a view to equipment to meet the needs of Aviation.

All reports and recommendations of the Board to be submitted to the Minister in charge and the Postmaster-General for their joint consideration.

The Board to administer the details of the policy as defined by the Government.

To advise on the necessity for legislation and regulations regarding aviation generally.

In Cabinet.

25th September, 1920.

Recommendations of Hons. Coates and Rhodes


(Signed) F. W. Thomson,


page 12

From the above it can be seen that the policy of the time was to foster civil aviation in the expectation that it could be turned to advantage for defence in time of need. Considering how little was known about flying generally, and the limitations imposed on defence developments by lack of finance, it was quite sensible.

The Air Board met frequently during the latter part of 1920 and early in 1921, and thereafter at longer intervals. It was a purely advisory body with no executive powers; a fact which its members felt was a shortcoming and tried to have changed. They considered that, unless it had some authority to regulate flying activities, much of its value was lost.

Their dissatisfaction was not altogether justified. The Government was, admittedly, slow to act on their recommendations, but no more so than most Governments when embarking on an entirely new venture. The mere fact that a statement of policy was issued showed that it was taking an active interest in the matter, and was partly the result of early recommendations by the Board; and a number of other more detailed recommendations were later acted upon.

Concrete proposals which later bore fruit were made early in 1921. They included the establishment of a service aerodrome at Auckland for land and sea planes; the acquisition of torpedo-carrying aircraft for coastal defence; and refresher training for ex-RAF pilots at Sockburn.

In 1921 the Board was made responsible for administering in detail the aviation policy laid down by the Government.