Haven't we all come a long way!
Like Captain Cook many years before him Ian Dunkley came to NZ from England on a voyage of discovery. Cook discovered an indigenous populated new land. Ian discovered that there was no Vintage Gliding movement operating! However unlike Cook, Ian decided to stay on and so late in 2003,in an attempt to readdress this colony indiscretion he posted out an invitation to all registered glider owners for a rally to be held at Taupo in January 2004, with the intention of forming such a group in here in NZ. A good turn out attended the rally and a meeting was held one evening after flying. It seems Ian’s idea had certainly pressed ‘a number of’ buttons’ including my own I have to say, and all of the attendees gave Ian enthusiastic support to form such a group.
An approach was then made to GNZ to the possibilities of a group being formed and would they be comfortable with such a movement operating in NZ as a member club. The GNZ executive were very supportive in their response and so The Vintage and Classic Glider Club of NZ was born, to become better known simply as ‘ Vintage Kiwi’. A lot of work was now done over the next 15 months to set up the operating structures and rules of the organization so it could become an Incorporated Society .In 2006 this was achieved with ‘Vintage Kiwi’ then being admitted as a member to the GNZ.
The objectives of Vintage Kiwi are quite simple. In round terms the Organization was formed to try and ‘ stop the rot.‘ In other words, to promote the preservation and restoration of Vintage and Classic gliders to either flying status or for permanent display. Another prime objective, and there are a number of them, is also to collect, preserve and publish information about the above, to locate and preserve documents and artifacts connected to our gliding history.
Vintage Kiwi as well as having its own membership, also acts as an ‘umbrella ‘ organization for GNZ members who also wish to contribute by becoming a member and operate their gliders under the’ Vintage Kiwi’ banner and in doing so are playing their part in preserving our gliding heritage.
There are now a number of well-established rallies held each year at different times of the year. A ‘rally’ is really just an excuse to get together and go flying at a variety of different venues. These have been held at Taupo, Norfolk Rd Taraniki, Raglan [by the sea,] Drury, Matamata and at Nelson lakes. Future rallies that are being considered are Jury Hill Waiarapa, Taumaranui – King Country, and the historic site of Simmons Hill – Mt Cook.
There are now a good number of gliders, which are now flying under the Vintage Kiwi Banner, which also include an Elliots of Newbury Eon Baby – NZ s oldest registered flying Glider ZK GAF  and Vintages Kiwi’s first syndicated glider, a Schleicher KA8 GLE as well as the only surviving Schneider Kookaburra flying in NZ, GBB as well as a number of SchliecherKA6 , two KA8s, SZD Cobra, Two Slingsby T31 to name a few. Under the ‘Classic’ section there are a Standard Libelle, several ASW15’s, SH Discus, Cirus, the list also continues.
The Norfolk Aviation Sports Club seem to have become the main center of restoring some of our older and historic gliders back to flying status, for their own clubs use, of which are also flying under the ‘ Vintage Kiwi’ banner.
As far as these aircraft are concerned the results have been quite impressive. We must start with the four Let Blaniks that have been resurrected back to full flying duties.
ZK GFS being NZ s first ever Blanik that was condemned many years ago when its spar life expired. Others bought back to life in recent years are
Unfortunately these are now subject to a worldwide grounding.
Slingsby T31  - ZKAU is back to full flying status after a major overhaul and refurbishment – it is now in mint condition
KA6 cr ZK GEF -  back to full flying status after a major rebuild - superb, better than brand new
Schneider Kookaburra  - ZK GBB is also now back to full flying status – another superb job by the Norfolk team.
Further on going projects at the Norfolk Aviation Sports Club are
Burgfalke L Spartz  - ZK GBA is to be overhauled and refurbished back to flying status.
Slingsby Skylark 4  - ZK GCY only awaiting a center section to complete back to flying status.
Imported to fly under the umbrella of Vintage Kiwi by Ian Dunkley
Slingsby Skylark 3F - flying
Hans Jacobs Weihe - stored.
Vintage Kiwi have also been active with preserving none flyable gliders to ‘display’ standard and the following are now on permanent display at the Classic Flyers Aviation Museum at the Tauranga airport
Hall Cherokee – first post war ‘ home built glider’ ZKGBT
Foot launcher de Seast estate
Slingsby Swallow  - ZKGCD
Schleicher Ka6cr  - ZKGFD - holder of numerous women’s record in the 1970s
Other gliders currently being returned to full flying status.
Slingsby T31 Jury Hill
Slingsby T61 Motor Faulke ZKGOD Drury - engine change, up grade
The future of Vintage Kiwi I believe is a quite positive one, however the continuing saving and flying of our historic past is very much in our own hands.
If you own a Vintage or Classic glider then why not join us. Your $35.00 contribution will go a long way in stopping the rot. If you do not even own a glider, but would like to, Vintage Kiwi, could even put together a syndicate. Our older NZ glider fleet is certainly great value for money and is an inexpensive way to get flying and keep these sailplanes alive. Or may be you may just want to support a very special aviation course Explore the possibilities, and even join us at one of the many rallies held each year. It really is a lot of fun. Great flying, great camaraderie, great experiences and great x country explorations. Yes,” Vintage Kiwi’ has come a long way, and with your help it can only get better.
Come join the adventure
To contact Vintage Kiwi e mail directly to firstname.lastname@example.org
c/o 7 Calder Place Glendowie Auckland 1072 NZ