Interpretation of Sightings:

  • Please note that UFOCUS NZ does not consider every 'light in the sky', 'UFO' or 'UAP' to be an 'alien craft'. 'UFO' in general public terminology simply means 'unidentified flying object'. 'UAP' is 'unusual aerial phenomenon'. 'UAS' is 'unusual aerial sighting'.
  • In some cases the data received may be incomplete or limited, and the credibility of the witnesses unknown.
  • We strive to present reports as received, and perform a comprehensive analysis to the best of our abilitiy, given the data provided. This process may be limited if some time has elapsed between the event, and receiving the report.
  • Historic reports are accepted in good faith, and in many cases they are useful for research when cross-referenced with archival data.

Gathering of Evidence

As well as eyewitness reports, other kinds of evidence may be gathered by our sighting investigators:

  • Air Traffic Control: information on aircraft flight paths, helicopter activity, search & rescue, etc.
  • Astronomic: information on planetary positions, meteor showers, ISS position, etc.
  • Photographs: photos/footage may be examined by a photographic data analyst or ATC.
  • Physical Traces: soil, vegetation, or other samples for laboratory analysis.
  • Radarscope: if appropriate under NZ's radar system.
  • Medical Records: medical verification of any physiological effects attributed to the UFO/UAP incident where the medical examiner can determine no other cause.
  • Police or Search and Rescue activity, reports from radio stations, media, and various sources

Guidelines for witnesses observing a UFO / UAP sighting

UFO = unidentified flying object (terminology the general public is most familiar with, but carries connotations)
UAP = unusual aerial phenomenon (a more comprehensive and objective term) 
UAS = unusual aerial sighting (term used by UK, Australian, and New Zealand Defence Forces)


During the sighting or event:


Remain calm

  • Ensure your own safety and that of others present.
  • Stop what you are doing and observe.

Get other witness observations

  • If others are present or nearby, alert them to what you are observing.  If possible, obtain their contact details.
  • If nobody else is present, and if a phone or cell-phone is directly handy, call someone nearby or in the area to confirm /witness what you are observing.
  • Independently document your observations as soon as possible after the event.

Determine important details

  • If possible, note the exact start time of the sighting or event.
  • Keep watching the UFO/UAP.
  • Try not to move from the spot you are observing from unless you have to in order to keep the UFO/UAP in sight. It will help you to more accurately determine the extent of a light's / object’s movements if you are still.
  • Note any terrestrial objects in the field of view, or any activity that can help determine compass directions, direction of movement, distance and size of the UFO/UAP eg. landmarks, houses, groups of trees, hills. Was it in the next field or further away? Was it at tree-top height, or several hundred feet in the air?
  • A rough size of the object/light can be estimated by holding a thumb out at arms length to use as a measure. How big was the light/object in relation to an object such as a coin, tennis ball etc?
  • Turn your hand horizontally at arms length and count the number of fingers required as a measure of elevation of the object from the horizon. This indication is useful to the UFOCUS NZ investigator to ascertain approximate height and elevation.
  • Avoid looking directly at artificial lights that may distort your vision (street lights, car lights, moon)
  • Note the end time of the event and date.

Use a video camera or camera to record the event

  • DO NOT use ‘zoom’, as this will distort the footage, and will likely exclude important landmarks or geographical features relevant to the movements/event.
  • DO NOT delete any photos from a digital camera memory card, in case it is needed for analysis. Photo negatives are required for analysis.
  • Stabilize the camera for better quality footage.
  • Try to include nearby/localised objects in the frame/video (eg. telegraph poles, corner of a roof, landmarks, trees etc as this helps us to ascertain height, position etc).
  • If you do not have a visual recording device, then draw pictures/diagrams of what you saw as soon as possible after the event.

Voice record your sighting

  • If you cannot record visually, perhaps you have a tape recorder or dictaphone. Describe the event as it happens including reference points and details outlined above.
  • If you cannot voice record, write down your observations immediately afterwards.

Record any close encounter

  • If you encounter any kind of occupant associated with the sighting/event, attempt to remain at a safe distance. If possible, videotape or photograph the occupant or object.
  • Draw and write down a description of the occupant as soon as possible afterwards when it is safe to do so.
  • Take photos or video of any kind of direct physical effects you may have experienced from close proximity.
  • Contact a doctor if you are in pain or concerned for your well-being, or that of others.

Leave the area untouched

  • If the UFO/UAP leaves some trace of its presence, do not disturb this area and restrict access to the site if possible.
  • Photograph or video the area of the site from outside the trace area and make notes of the position of any features.
  • Take videos or photos of other kinds of evidence/objects, but do not touch it.

Following the Sighting or Event

  • Write down as many details of what you observed AS SOON AS POSSIBLE after the event, while it is still fresh and accurate in your mind.
  • This includes making any appropriate sketches, maps, drawings of objects, figures, occupants etc. You don’t need to be a great artist – it is all helpful.
  • Note any distinct sounds, smells, or other phenomena that may be directly associated with the event (eg. car stalling, power failure, unusual animal behaviour).
  • Record the names and contact details of any other witnesses if possible, and encourage them to submit a Sighting Report Form to us also.
  • Be objective. Check out our ‘Reality check’ page. We do not jump to the conclusion that a UFO/UAP is necessarily of unknown or extraterrestrial origin. UFOCUS NZ carries out a process of elimination of possible logical or conventional causes of a sighting in our investigation procedures.

Report your experience

  • Immediately report the event to UFOCUS NZ. Some of our investigation procedures are dependent on prompt reporting.
  • Complete UFOCUS NZ’s Sighting Report Form, and
  • Email it to us with drawings, photos etc, on attachment to: ufocusnz@xtra.co.nz
  • Or post completed form and accompanying drawings, footage or photos to:

                UFOCUS NZ 
                PO Box 624
                Tauranga 3176 



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