The Royal New Zealand Air Force is regularly involved in operations in New Zealand and abroad. Whether it is a search and rescue operation, maritime surveillance or peacekeeping, the RNZAF is doing its bit with professionalism, integrity and teamwork.
Located 8km west of Blenheim at the top of the South Island, Woodbourne was established in 1939 as the base for No.2 Service Flying Training School (No.2SFTS). Also located nearby during WWII were the ground training camps of the Delta.
In 1942-43, Kittyhawk Fighter Squadrons used the satellite Fairhall field. In 1945 No.2 SFTS was closed and the RNZAF Central Flying School and some ground training units, including the Officers’ School of Instruction were relocated to Woodbourne. In 1949, The Aircraft Repair Depot RNZAF was relocated from Ohakea, and in 1951 the Boy Entrant School was established at Woodbourne.
Today, Woodbourne is the Air Force’s only support base. Units at Woodbourne are responsible for the training of recruits, initial officer training, trade training and command training.
The Ground Training Wing was created in 1995 from existing units at Woodbourne and those relocated from Wigram and Hobsonville. Also at Woodbourne is the Air Force’s only heavy maintenance facility for the repair of aircraft airframes, engines and avionics systems. This unit was commercialised in 1998 and is now managed by Safe Air Ltd.
With a typical student population, Woodbourne has personnel strength of around 1,250. This comprises 700 service personnel and 100 civilians, while around 450 contractor’s staff operate the Repair Depot and provide essential support services such as catering.