RNZAF Ohakea (from the Maori “place of the birds”) is one of three Bases operated by the Royal New Zealand Air Force and is home to the Beechcraft Texan aircraft of 14 Squadron and the Central Flying School, the Beech B200 King Airs of 42 Squadron and the A109 and NH90 helicopters of 3 Squadron. The base also is home to a number of technical support and trade related departments.
Construction of RNZAF Ohakea was begun in 1937 as a base to house the new Wellington bombers purchased by the Air Force. The outbreak of war in 1939 saw the decision to leave the bombers in the UK to form the basis of 75 (New Zealand) Squadron of the RAF. During WW2 Ohakea became a major training base equipped with a range of aircraft including P40s and Harvards. After the war it was the home to a number of units equipped with such aircraft as the Corsair, Avenger, Mosquito and DC3.
For many years it was the home of the RNZAF Air Combat Wing equipped with Vampires and Canberras initially and then Skyhawks, Strikemasters and Aermacchis until its disbandment in 2001. The Bell Iroquois helicopters were retired in 2015 after nearly fifity years of service. Today RNZAF Ohakea maintains its key role in the modern RNZAF as a training base and logistics hub as well as VIP flight operations, search and rescue and a variety of other functions.