New Zealand Military to release secret UFO files

Hundreds of pages of secret files on New Zealand UFO sightings will be released by the military this year. The files include reports of UFO sightings from 1979 till 1984 and references to the Kaikoura sighting of December 1978. The files are held by Archives New Zealand and were to be made public this month, but the Defence Force is removing personal information from them to comply with the Privacy Act.

"At the moment we are working on making copies of these files, minus the personal information," a Defence Force spokeswoman said. "Once this work is completed, we are hoping to be able to release a copy of all the UFO files, including some ahead of their release time, within the year."

Lights were spotted in the sky over Kaikoura in December 1978 and were filmed by an Australian news crew. Aircraft tracked the lights, which were also seen on radar.

A man who worked for the Transport Ministry's civil aviation division when the Kaikoura lights were spotted said he would like to see the government files. The man said he was working at Christchurch International Airport at that time. He saw United States Air Force planes with unusual call signs touring the area and believes the full story about the lights has not been disclosed. "For the US Air Force to come all that way and spend three days here, there must have been something going on," he said.

The Press newspaper sought any Defence Force files on UFO sightings under the Official Information Act in August last year. The Defence Force said the request "would require a substantial amount of collation, research and consultation to identify whether any of that information could be released" and it was "not in a position to deploy staff to undertake that task". It said public files on UFO sightings were available from Archives New Zealand. The Press requested access to those files from Archives New Zealand, but was not able to see them as they had been borrowed by the Defence Force.

The director of research group UFOCUS NZ, Suzanne Hansen, said she was frustrated by the delayed release but understood the privacy reasons. "We have been in discussion with the New Zealand Defence Force for many years. It is frustrating from a research perspective because we would like to collate these sightings with international research." Ms Hansen said some sightings could have been alien technology. "There are cases that are certainly not our technology. It has been scientifically proven that this is entirely possible."