07 June 2021

More on the Baa Service


The boat was not available, so 160 lambs took the plane to Napier instead. On Thursday, Air Chathams successfully completed its first trial stock flight, carrying 160 lambs on a plane for the flight of one hour and 45 minutes from the Chatham Islands to Napier. Air Chathams owner Craig Emeny​ personally piloted the Convair 580 plane, along with Daryl Pettit​, and he was hoping it could result in a further 15 flights carrying hundreds more livestock from the remote island to mainland Aoteroa. Air Chathams general manager Duane Emeny​ said it was the first time the company had ever transported live animals on such a scale. “Back in the 1980s my father used to do some animal transfers, and we are talking 2-3 transfers on very small aircraft, but this is the first time we have done an entire flight with an entire cargo aircraft.” Emeny said it was a project they had been working on for the past six weeks, as they were asked for assistance by the Chatham Islands Shipping Company. “They had a bit of an issue with their scheduling and needed to send their ship up to Norfolk Island, so they asked us if we would be able to do something on the off-chance really. “We put together a trial flight and next week we will catch up with them and work with them on what they thought about it all. If they are happy, then we will be doing a further 15 flights throughout June.” The lambs were placed into specially designed metal bins, which met regulations for live-animal carriage, and then loaded on to the plane. “We considered having a shepherd on board the flight but as it was only an hour-and-a-half trip, we decided we did not need one. We did have our flight crew plus one additional member in case they were needed.” After the flight the sheep seemed to be “in pretty good spirits” and his father Craig was “pretty chuffed” with how the flight went. Emeny said flying stock across New Zealand was something that was not usually done. “The only live animal transfers that are done on scale are the racehorses, which go up and down the country or across the Tasman for the big races. “We are not sure if we are the first to do this in New Zealand but I have not heard of it happening and especially from somewhere as remote as the Chathams.” Emeny said the trip was significant as it was the last year the company would be operating the Convair aircraft, which was reaching the end of its life. “It just shows how versatile that aircraft is and how much we are going to miss it. It is an old aeroplane with a 1950s design. But it has just done such an amazing job for us as an airline.” Emeny said the company had decided to invest in more modern aircraft as “hardline regulations” meant it would have to invest more money in the Convair fleet. SPCA was approached for comment for this story.

Source : https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/125363869/in-pretty-good-spirits--the-160-lambs-that-took-a-firstofitskind-flight-from-the-chatham-islands-to-napier


  1. Not about sheep but on Sunday evening TV1's Country Calander program featured the Chathams in particular cod. Towards the end there is a very short piece showing them being loaded into plastic containers strapped into seats on MCO. The comments suggested this is a regular event with the fish travelling with passengers! Seems MCO has indeed become a "Combi" of sorts.

    1. Always has been common place, even on the Connie's you might find yourself seated next to a tub full of kai moana:)

  2. I seem to recall seeing a photograph of sheep being loaded into pens in a SAFE Bristol Freighter once, possibly back during the 1960s or 1950s.

  3. NAC used to transport sheep and cattle in their DC-3 freighters. I think I am correct in saying that a bull broke out of its pen in freighter ZK-AQP and tried breaking into the cockpit. The crew landed at the next suitable aerodrome. Also, when SAFE Bristol Freighter ZK-AYH crashed on the Russley Golf Course in Christchurch it was carrying cows, which perished with the crew, on 21 November 1957.