Air force crowd turns out at Parliament

A 200 strong RNZAF Royal Guard of Honour marching along Parliament Forecourt to celebrate their 75th Anniversary. Photo / Mark Mitchell
A 200 strong RNZAF Royal Guard of Honour marching along Parliament Forecourt to celebrate their 75th Anniversary. Photo / Mark Mitchell

More than 200 uniformed air force personnel were at Parliament today to mark the Royal New Zealand Air Force's 75th anniversary.

The Guard of Honour paraded through Wellington from Civic Square at 11am, and was met on Parliament's forecourt by Prime Minister John Key, Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae and other officials.

As the lines of air force staff marched onto the grounds, crowds gathered to watch the celebrations, hear the air force band and the governor-general's address.

Discipline was tested as the ever-present Wellington winds made their presence felt, blowing one air force member's hat off. However, professional standards were maintained, and she remained in position rather than chasing after it.

The weather forecast also put paid to plans to end the ceremony with a spitfire flypast. A P3K Orion flew overhead instead.

Reflecting on the history of the air force since it was established in 1937, Sir Jerry said it was marked by the remarkable efforts of individuals.

"They gave their all to the service of their country, our country, serving New Zealand in both the good times and the sad times. Many lost their lives in fulfilling their duty," he said.

"Those pioneering aviators established the traditions in history, particularly within individual squadrons that continue to motivate the men and women of today's air force."

The proceedings were followed by a commemorative service at St Paul's cathedral.

- APNZ

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