AOPA NZ’s mission is 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 NZ 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 NZ is represented by a dedicated group of volunteers. View the Executive Committee and find the contact details of your local representative further down this page.

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

AOPA NZ members frequently attend “fly-ins” where pilots from around the country converge on one airport location and then spend a weekend exploring the local area (by air!).
Whilst most members fly fairly modern aircraft, some of our members fly something a little more vintage.

Our history

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 here. 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 NZ.

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 NZ continues to be an effective, unified voice for pilots.

AOPA NZ members who are interested in finding out more about our history, including historical documents, photos and media coverage, can access our history page here. [Link]

Meet our Executive Committee 2020-2021

AOPA NZ Inc. is led by volunteer members who are elected to positions on our Executive Committee. Their photos and contact details are below.

Mary Bruce

Administration & Financial Officer

027 294 0819
PO Box 659, Wanaka 9343

Steve Brown


027 224 0003

Steve Horne


Northern North Island

Steve Horne

Southern South Island

Sue Kronfeld

Executive Member

Ivor Yockney

027 201 5279
or 02 347 4292

Southern North Island

Chris Hoffman

Executive Member

Ian Sinclair

Executive Member

Don Ryder

027 442 0016
or 04 479 1367
04 06 875 0333

Northern South Island

Geoff van Asch

Executive Member

Murray Paterson

029 335 3277
or 03 489 5175

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AOPA NZ Constitution and legal documents