14 March 2021

Island Air Safaris - Experience the Magic of Motiti and Beyond


Motiti Island Air Ltd, which was to trade as Island Air Safaris, was established by Wayne Renner, Douglas Taylor and Vernon Wills on the 5th of September 1984. The operator flew to Motiti Island on a charter basis using Cessna 206 and DHC Beavers but also operated scenic and charter flights from Tauranga.

The initial aircraft was Cessna P206 Super Skylane ZK-DRD (c/n P206-0135). This was later joined by leased Cessna U206G Stationair 6 ZK-FLD (c/n U20604795).

The first two Island Air Safaris' Cessnas... Cessna 206 ZK-DRD at Tauranga on 1 September 1985...

...and Cessna 206 ZK-FLD at Tauranga on 1 April 1986

Cessna 206 ZK-DRD was later repainted as seen here on 2 November 1986

The service was particularly aimed at fishermen and divers and supporting a lodge on Motiti Island. It also served the needs of the local. During the summer of 1986/1987, with the service growing, Island Air Safaris leased De Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver ZK-CZL from Fieldair after its rebuild. The lease convince Island Air Safaris of the need for its own Beaver and after its rebuild Island Air Safaris acquired, initially on a lease, ZK-AZB. It operated its first flight Tauranga-Motiti Island-Tauranga run on the 31st of July 1987 and was registered to Motiti Island Air on the 11th of February 1988.

Island Air Safaris' first DHC Beaver ZK-CZL at Tauranga on 1 January 1987

Their own machine, DHC Beaver ZK-AZB at Tauranga on 19 May 1988

As well as servicing Motiti Island the company also acquired Cessna A188B Agwagon C ZK-DMA  (c/n 188-01350) to use on agricultural work. It was registered to Motiti Island Air on the 14th of January 1989. It had an unfortunate end. On the 15th of April 1989 it was on spraying work near Te Puke when it stuck a wire. Faced with an engine fire and loss of  power the pilot made a forced landing. The pilot suffered serious burns before escaping from the cockpit and the aircraft was destroyed.

Cessna 188 Agwagon ZK-DMA at Tauranga on 19 May 1988

Motiti Island Air had one other aircraft registered to it, Cessna 152 ZK-FPI (c/n 15281203) which was used for training and hire. 

Cessna 152 ZK-FPI at Paraparaumu on 15 May 1988 while registered to Motiti Island Air

The NZ Herald edition of the 5th of August 1989 advertised the company for sale... We are offering for sale an established passenger and charter service operating from Tauranga Airport. Primary involvement is in servicing an offshore island and in tourist work. Business includes Stationair Cessna 206 aircraft and existing service contracts. Office facilities available would suit CPL owner/operator. For full details, write to: 14 0401 AIR SERVICE, PO BOX 2052, TAURANGA.

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