04 September 2021

Bring Our Birds Home - Dutch Style

In the March 2019 issue of FlyPast magazine I read with interest on the Dutch version of Bring Our Birds Home and their attempts to bring the first production model of the Fokker Fellowship 1000 PH-MOL home to the Netherlands from Mali.

FlyPast, March 2019

Exactly 50 years before the FlyPast article, on the 1st of March 1969, PH-MOL visited my hometown of Hokitika while on a demonstration tour of New Zealand...

A couple of days before the Hokitika Guardian reported on the visit...

The Hokitika Guardian of 27 February 1969 reports...

Visit of Fokker Fellowship to New Zealand

The Fokker F28 Fellowship, the pure-jet successor to National Airway’s jet-prop Fokker Friendship airliners, will arrive in Wellington tomorrow afternoon. During a visit of six days the Fellowship will be scrutinised by National Airways, the civil aviation division of the Ministry of Transport, the Air Force and Air New Zealand – all potential purchasers. NAC does not have an immediate interest, but it is understood to have “looked” at the Fellowship with a view to possible purchase in the late 1970s. The Air Force and civil aviation could find the Fellowship ideal as a VIP aircraft. Air New Zealand’s interest is that the Fellowship would be ideal for the Norfolk Island run. Air New Zealand is a major shareholder in two Pacific Island airlines (Polynesia and Fiji) that operate over routes where the Fellowship is far and away the best aircraft. It is to these airlines that Fokker has the best chance of making immediate sales in this area. On Saturday afternoon the Fellowship will take nearly 50 VIPs on a flight to Invercargill and back. The party, which includes the Minister of Transport (Mr Gordon), the Attorney-General (Mr Hanan) and several other members of Parliament will stop at Hokitika before flying over Manapouri to Invercargill. On the return trip the Fellowship will circle the site of the Comalco aluminium smelter at Bluff and pay a visit to Central Otago before stopping at Dunedin.

Hokitika at the time had a gravel runway. It was the first jet to visit the town.

Fokker Fellowship PH-MOL at Hokitika on 1 March 1969... I'm a 6 year old somewhere in that crowd

I was quite delighted in the last couple of weeks to pick up on Trade Me some of Fokker's promotional material from the visit ...

Fokker F28 Fellowship PH-MOL at Wellington, late February or early March 1969

I hope the Dutch have brought their bird home!


  1. Thanks for the interesting post. What other pure jets have used Hokitika?

  2. My father (Cor Moolenaar) was one of the Fokker crew members (a Radio Technician) on that very flight to Hokitika. The visit to New Zealand left him with lasting impressions of a great country and eight years later we emigrated to NZ as a family. Dad subsequently secured a job at NAC/Air NZ in Christchurch. He had deep admiration for the little Fokker F-28 twin jet, which proved its worth on that 1969 Demonstration Tour. Cheers, Willem.

  3. Thanks for sharing that Willem... a nice little piece of family history