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New Zealand MOD prepares to release classified UFO documents

27 January 2010 

Over the past 14 months, New Zealand’s UFO Research Network, UFOCUS NZ, has communicated directly with Lt Gen Jerry Mataparae, Chief of Defence Force NZ, on the issue of the release of MOD (Ministry of Defence) classified UFO sighting reports and related documents.

UFOCUS NZ Director, Suzanne Hansen, says that initially, the Chief of Defence stated, “It would require a substantial amount of collation, research and consultation to identify whether any of that information could be released,” and that he was not in a position to deploy staff to undertake that task, given other work priorities.

However, the Chief of Defence also voiced his personal perspective on the issue, “In the longer term, recognizing the ongoing public interest in this topic, I would like to see a summary of information held about UFO sightings produced, in much the same way as that which is produced by the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence.  Given the existing constraints, however, I cannot predict when that objective could be achieved.” 

Then in December, 2009, following ongoing communications, the Chief of Defence stated in a letter to UFOCUS NZ, “I am pleased to be able to inform you that two NZDF officers have begun the task of assessing classified files held in relation to this topic with a view to declassification.  I would expect that files which are transferred to Archives New Zealand would be subject to extensive embargo periods in terms of access by the general public.” 

A Chief of Defence Force office spokesperson advised, “The declassification of the UFO files is now a ‘work in progress’ in conjunction with Archives New ZealandThe files must be amended to meet new requirements of the Privacy Act.

The Defence Force will notify UFOCUS NZ when this process is completed later this year, and the research network will be given the opportunity of access to the files. 

Hansen states UFOCUS NZ's own archives contain credible and detailed UFO sighting reports from New Zealand pilots, air traffic controllers, and military personnel.  In addition, the research network holds sighting reports from members of the public who experienced significant UFO sightings dating as far back as 1908.  Some of these prominent cases were investigated by NZ Air Force personnel, and she is hopeful the MOD files may contain their reports.

It is likely the files will also contain additional information about the renowned ‘Kaikoura lights’ sightings which made world headlines in 1978/79.  UFOCUS NZ staff member and former Chief air traffic controller of Wellington International Airport, John Cordy, witnessed the Kaikoura lights on airport control centre radar, and states, “I hope the files will validate the reality of the sightings, and vindicate key witnesses who observed them, and faced ‘trial by media’.”

Hansen says UFO sightings are on the increase in New Zealand, with patterns and characteristics that parallel reported UFO sightings and ‘flaps’ occurring worldwide, and that an increase in sightings reported to UFOCUS NZ is a direct result of heightened public awareness and growing interest in the subject in New Zealand.


Suzanne Hansen


UFO Focus New Zealand Research Network (UFOCUS NZ)