Kaikoura lights – UFO sighting
The Kaikoura lights is a name given by the New Zealand media to a series of sightings that occurred in December 1978, over the skies above the Kaikoura mountain ranges of the northeastern South Island of New Zealand. The first sightings were made on 21 December when the crew of a Safe Air Ltd cargo aircraft began observing a series of strange lights around their Armstrong Whitworth AW.660 Argosy aircraft, which tracked along with their aircraft for several minutes before disappearing and then reappearing elsewhere. The pilots described some of the lights to be the size of a house and others small but flashing brilliantly. These objects appeared on the air traffic controller radar in Wellingtonand also on the aircraft’s on-board radar.
On 30 December 1978, a television crew from Australia recorded background film for a network show on interviews about the sightings. For many minutes at a time on the flight to Christchurch, unidentified lights were observed by five people on the flight deck, were tracked by Wellington Air Traffic Controllers, and filmed in color by the television crew. One object reportedly followed the aircraft almost until landing. The cargo plane then took off again with the television crew still on board, heading for Blenheim. When the aircraft reached about 2000 feet, it encountered a gigantic lighted orb which fell into station off the wing tip and tracked along with the cargo aircraft for almost quarter of an hour, while being filmed, watched, tracked on the aircraft radar and described on a tape recording made by the TV film crew.
A spate of sightings followed the initial report and an Air Force Skyhawk was put on stand-by to investigate any positive sightings.
Following the sightings, the Royal New Zealand Air Force, the police and the Carter Observatory in Wellington cooperated in an investigation, the results of which were stamped Top Secretand lodged in the National Archives in Wellington. The New Zealand Ministry of Defence attributed the sightings to lights from squid boats reflected off clouds, unburned meteors, or lights from the planet Venus or trains and cars.
- The 1978 Kaikoura, New Zealand Photographs at About.com
- Bruce Maccabee’s page on the Kaikoura UFO sightings – includes his article on same published in Applied Optics.
- Air Force: Kaikoura UFO Explainable, UFO Casebook Magazine, December 2010
- Royal NZ Air Force Files for 1956-1979 – link to RNZAF files for 1956 – 1979 including their Report on Kaikoura UFO’s.
- Royal NZ Air Force Files for 1978-1981 – link to RNZAF files for 1978 – 1981 including interviews & technical reports from DSIR & report from NZ UFO Studies Centre re Kaikoura UFO’s.
- Royal NZ Air Force Files for 1979-1980 – link to RNZAF files for 1979 – 1980 including Press release Summary of their Investigation into Kaikoura UFO’s.