22 April 2024

ATRs Commence Kerikeri Flights



Air New Zealand commenced ATR flights to Kerikeri today with ATR 72-600 ZK-MVQ flying the first return service, NZ5266 northbound and NZ5267 southbound. Over the winter Kerikeri's Monday morning service from Auckland will be operated by 68-seat ATRs rather than the normal Bombardier Q300. 

The flights leave Auckland at 8.30am to arrive at 9.20am and the return flight departs at 9.50am on Mondays only.

This is the first time ATRs have operated a regular schedule to Kerikeri.

The move is short-lived and will go through to September when the ATR flights revert back to Bombardier Q300s.

I've tried to hurriedly stitch something together of the 49 year old air service, but I have a few gaps and a few questions which I will finish with...

The air service Auckland to Kerikeri effectively replaced NAC's service between Auckland and Kaikohe, which in 1970 was taken over by Geyserland Airways, and the Mount Cook Airlines amphibian service between Auckland and Paihia. 

Mount Cook Airlines introduced the first Auckland-Kerikeri service on the 12th of January 1975 with Britten Norman Islander ZK-MCC flying the first services. Mount Cook operated four flights a day to Kerikeri with a lesser schedule over the winter.  

On the 3rd of May 1977 Mount Cook Airlines upgraded the Kerikeri service to a 48-seat Hawker Siddeley 748. The first 748 flight into was operated by ZK-MCA under the command of Captain Geoff Williams and First Officer David Wyatt with Chief Purser Trevor Edlin and Steward Wally McKee looking after the cabin. This was a direct flight from Christchurch, the scheduled first flight breaking down in Auckland.

The first Hawker Siddeley 748 Series 2A flight to Kerikeri. ZK-MCA and Britten-Norman BN2A-26 Islander, ZK-MCC, taken at Kerikeri on 3 May 1977. Pictured left to right are: David Wyatt, co-pilot on the HS748; Bruce Packer, pilot of the BN Islander; Captain Geoff Williams, operations manager and pilot of the HS748; Anna Laloli, Miss Airport 1977; Wally McKee, steward; Trevor Edlin; chief purser. Photographer unknown. S Lowe Collection

Failing to generate an adequate the level of patronage to make the service viable the Hawker Siddeley 748s were withdrawn from the Kerikeri service on the 31st of March 1979 in favour of an Islander service over the winter. The 748s returned for the 1979/1980 summer when one 748 flight was operated daily alongside two Islander flights. The 748s flew their final service to Kerikeri on the 31st of March 1980 and they never operated this route on a scheduled basis from this point on. 

In mid-1982 the Islander was replaced with a faster Piper Pa31-350 Navajo Chieftain, ZK-MCM. While the nine seat Chieftain did not have quite the load hauling capacity of the Islander it was faster and, probably more importantly for the passengers, distinctly quieter to fly in.

Boarding for Auckland. Piper Chieftain ZK-MCM at Kerikeri on 3 March 1992

Further development of the air service occurred on the 16th of January 1984 when an 18-seat de Havilland Canada Twin Otter, ZK-MCO, was introduced to the service. Two Rotorua-Auckland-Kerikeri return flights per day were flown each day. The Twin Otter plied the Auckland-Kerikeri route for the next two years with two flights being offered each day in the winter and three flights being offered over the summer.

Northern News, 17 January 1984

In mid-1986 the Twin Otter was moved south to Queenstown and the Piper Chieftain returned to the Kerikeri run. Again ZK-MCM was used and this was supported by ZK-EBT leased from Airwork. The Chieftain flew four return services a day to Kerikeri with at the peak of summer a fifth flight being offered. 

The Chieftain was to maintain the Kerikeri service until the 31st of October 1993. 

On the 1st of November 1993 Eagle Air took over the Kerikeri service with 15-seat Embraer Bandeirante ZK-MAS operating the first Eagle flight to Auckland. The Bandeirantes were operated until the early 2000s when they were replaced by the 18-seat Beech 1900s.

Operated by Eagle Air, Air New Zealand Beech 1900 ZK-EAR at Kerikeri on 5 July 2011.

Kerikeri's last Beech 1900 flights were operated on the 8th of February 2015. ZK-EAM flew the last two Auckland-Kerikeri return flights as NZ2654/NZ2689 and NZ2662/NZ2665.

Also on the 8th of February 2015 Bombardier Q300 ZK-NEC, operated by Air Nelson, flew Air New Zealand flight NZ8674 from Auckland to Kerikeri on the overnight service inaugurating the introduction of the 50-seat Bombardier Q300s to Kerikeri.

Air Nelson continued to operate the Q300s Air New Zealand air service to Hokitika until the the 18th of November 2019 when it ended all operations with the cessation of its Air Operating Certificate. From the 19th of November 2019 the Air Nelson Bombardier Q300 aircraft were transferred to the Air New Zealand Air Operating Certificate.

Air New Zealand Bombardier Q300 ZK-NEU arrives in Kerikeri on 19 March 2024

So many questions...

  • Given the first scheduled 748 flight broke down, when did the first flight fly in from Auckland? Any details?
  • Did Eagle Air happen to operate Metroliners to Kerikeri? If so, any details of crew etc?
  • When was the last Bandeirante flight operated to Kerikeri? Are there any details of crew etc? 
  • When was the first Beech 1900 flight operated to Kerikeri? Are there any details of crew etc?
  • Any photos and details of crew for today's first 
  • Would anyone happen to have any photos of the various types at Kerikeri?
Any responses gratefully received to Steve - westland831@gmail.com

Another lesson in noting things down as they happen today to preserve the history for tomorrow


  1. I totally agree with you in regards to writing down these services that these centers used to operate and especially in this era when we don't have the trusty paper timetable. These, now, digital schedules vanish into the digital thin air and forgotten about when services/times/equipment get changed.

    But going of my memory though...

    Air Nelson did not "take over" from Eagle air but in fact, some time after the last Saabs were retired and Eagle Air were all Beech 19s, they both operated the Auckland route at the same time. And that was for a wee while before Air NZ announced the closure of Eagle air as I remember following all the timetables and back between 2010-2012 when I lived in Auckland, I lived under the flight path (near Auckland zoo) of the Kerikeri-Whangarei-Kaitaia ( That was a 1200pm service so I was always at work) routes and I always remember the evening hum of the Q300 to Kerikeri and the distinct whine of the b1900 following it to Whangarei while having a BBQ on the deck where I was living, and especially when I moved to Taupo in 2013, I always wondered why Air NZ operated Q300s along with the Beech on the kerikeri route yet. The likes of Taupo and especially the larger Whangarei only had the Beeches.. Although, Whangarei had a good six or seven flights a day, so I'm guessing they wanted the frequency over larger aircraft at the time...
    But when, both Eagle and Air Nelson were operating out of Kerikeri, during the weekday at the very least, there was four flights a day with the Air Nelson Q300 operating a mid morning and a 1600ish service while Eagle operated a 0800ish morning and a 1900ish overnight service... Or if there wasn't a overnight service then I think it was the Q300 that did a 1900 return flight but it was definitely alternating as in 2000-8000-2000-8000 or 8000-2000-8000-2000 from when I used to look at the schedules..

    I don't ever remember seeing the SWM ( I always called metros swammies because of their weird codes) on those paper timetables when looking at what aircraft were used where, and I do remember seeing just emb on the Kerikeri,Kaitaia and Whangarei routes...
    But I know Air Nelson operated a Metro to Kerikeri and Kaitaia once!!!
    I was being dropped of at Rotorua airport and I agonisingly just missed out on that Metro as it was flying over just as I was getting out and I know where it was going as it was on the good old teletext flight schedules...
    The Air Nelson metro was the only aircraft I never got a proper photo of as Rotorua only had one Air Nelson metro a day and it was an oddity because it operated on the Auckland route, the one and only Auckland route that was Air Nelson as the rest were Eagle air operated... But they were always airworks boring white metro!!!
    Gosh I used to bring home from Rotorua airport as a kid, hundreds of those old ansett nz, Mount cook airlines and air NZ timetables but mum threw them all out... To think I paid 20 bucks for a air nz timetable on amazon)

    Going of history and things vanishing over time....

    Around 2010 when I lived in Auckland, this must have been just on the cusp of fr24 but there was this brilliant website that became payware??? I don't know why??? Because when it became payware, that is when FR24 became what it is now...
    But it had the schedules and what aircraft type... maybe the regos too? would be operating the service, it was brilliant, especially when I was trying to get the entire Qantas ZK fleet and trying to get that elusive Air pacific 737-700..

  2. Oh...
    A metro has operated to Kaitaia and to Kerikeri!!!! And I know that as a very fact, a very painful memory I must add...

    When I was that very nerdy young 11 year old aviation spotter (with no friends hahaha jokes well joke but not joke) who used to spend whole days at Rotorua airport... hence those photos I once sent you.... I was literally barley 12 when dad would drop me off during my school holidays...

    This one day I was waiting for dad to pick me up and he was running late and I checked on the good old fashioned teletext at the flight schedules and this one oddity popped up on the Rotorua page... "Rotorua to Kerikeri... 8000 something"
    I checked the Kerikeri-Kaitaia-Whangarei page to find that not only was that plane off to Kerikeri, but it was also off to kaitaia as well....

    I was sceptical as it sounded really odd... Dad ended up running late as always and that flight had just started it's departure as I arrived... It was a Air Nelson Metro that was on its way to Kerikeri and I had just missed it by a literal second....

    Why was that such a painful memory....


    Air Nelson metro was the only airline type (except for missing out on the Mount cook Hs748 and the F27, also to an extent... a Ansett BAe in the old livery..) That I never got a photo off that operated into Rotorua, that I saw during my years growing up in Rotorua.... and in fact... anywhere... I have only one "desperate through the fence" capture of a air nelson metro but Rotorua did use to have a very odd "air nelson" Auckland to rotorua metro flight and it was the morning rush when the 737 used to do a morning flight.. But they always subbed it with a airwork metro for some odd reason...

    But anyway... A metro did operate to Kerikeri to my knowledge and yup... it was a Air Nelson metro

  3. Just a correction, the ATR service switches to Wednesdays on September 18th and continues until the end of October