New Zealand MOD Declassifies and Releases UFO files


Wednesday 22 December 2010

Today at 1.30 pm, the New Zealand Defence Force released previously classified files on New Zealand UFO sightings dated 1952 – 2009.

Over the past 14 months, New Zealand’s UFO Research Network, UFOCUS NZ, has communicated directly with Lt Gen Jerry Mateparae, Chief of Defence Force NZ (now out-going), on the issue of the release of MOD classified UFO sighting reports and related documents. UFOCUS NZ has outlined to the Chief of Defence some of the sighting events they have on file which they know were investigated by Air Force personnel at the time.

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 the 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 Zealand. The files must be amended to meet new requirements of the Privacy Act.”

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 have experienced significant UFO sightings dating from as far back as 1908 to the present day.

UFOCUS NZ has carried out an initial analysis of the files. They contain information pertaining to the infamous Kaikoura lights sightings of 1978/79, the Moreland sighting of 1959, military sightings, civilian sightings, memos and communications within the MOD, and two volumes of letters from one member of the public.

Significantly absent is information pertaining to the Ngatea ‘landing’ site of 1969, and the Gisborne UFO ‘flap’ of 1975-80. As well, UFOCUS NZ’s archives contain reports of other events reported to the MOD and Air Force by members of the public which are not in the files.

Hansen states UFO sightings are on the increase in New Zealand, with patterns and characteristics that parallel reported UFO sightings and flaps occurring worldwide. She believes 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.



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