About AOPA

AOPA NZ Mission

To advocate on behalf of members to keep the cost of private and recreational flying affordable and accessible to as many people as possible.  To encourage the social aspect of flying with like-minded people who share a passion for aviation.


The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has over 430,000 members worldwide, spread over 66 countries, each dedicated to furthering general aviation in their own country. 

AOPA provides a unified voice for pilots in New Zealand by building relationships with Government and regulatory bodies to ensure members’ views are represented, with the aim of preventing any increasing costs and restrictions being placed on private and recreational flying.   

The camaraderie between passionate, like-minded enthusiasts is still a key element of AOPA NZ today, with regular social fly-ins and biennial aviation safaris.   We find sharing experiences and advice helps to unify our members and ensure we move toward a common goal.

AOPA New Zealand is represented by a dedicated group of volunteers. View the Executive Committee and find the contact details of your local representative.

Find out how to become a member of AOPA and about the great membership benefits today!


The history of AOPA began in 1969, when a group of likeminded aircraft owners and their families met at Walter Peak Station to enjoy each other’s company and to talk about forming a club for private aircraft owners. They were owners of Austers, Tiger Moths, Cubs and a hand full of Cessnas.

This led to the inaugural meeting of The Kittyhawk Club of New Zealand, which was held at Taieri on 7th March 1971.  The club was formed with a total of 60 members.  View the original meeting minutes - page 1 & page 2.  From this initial meeting, the club members enjoyed many fantastic gatherings with friends from all over NZ.

In the early ‘80s the Committee was very involved in national politics, with the Executive have meetings at Government Minister level.  Throughout the 80’s & 90’s there were many battles to fight, as legislation was going to restrict flying options for pilots and aircraft alike.

The Kittyhawk club officially adopted the AOPA banner in 1978, however didn't opt to join AOPA International until 1985. At that time AOPA enjoyed a membership of approximately 280 pilots and aircraft owners.

In 1982, now life member Peter Presland gave the order to keep an emphasis on the social gathering of folk with a shared passion for flying.   From these weekend social fly-ins grew the advent of the island safaris that have now become an institution within AOPA.

Since 1969 the aviation industry has gone through much change, and the cost associated with general aviation is ever increasing. It is important that AOPA continues to be an effective, unified voice for pilots.  



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