The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) is the air arm of the New Zealand Defence Force. It was formed from New Zealand components of the British Royal Air Force, becoming an independent force in 1923, although many RNZAF aircrew continued to serve in the Royal Air Force until the end of the 1940s. The RNZAF fought in World War II, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Gulf War plus various United Nations peacekeeping missions. From a 1945 peak of over 1,000 combat aircraft the RNZAF has shrunk to a strength of around 62 aircraft in 2010, focusing on maritime patrol and transport duties in support of the Royal New Zealand Navy and the New Zealand Army.
The RNZAF motto is the same as that of the Royal Air Force, Per ardua ad astra, meaning "Through adversity to the stars."
The 75th anniversary of the Royal New Zealand Air Force The Royal New Zealand Air Force will celebrate the 75th anniversary of its formation on 1 April 2012.
This limited edition 1oz, 0.999 pure silver proof coin combines a number of graphic elements that are of great significance to the RNZAF in celebrating its 75th anniversary.
The RNZAF roundel is brilliantly displayed on the coin, raised in full colour. Roundels were created shortly before World War I as a system to identify aircraft from the ground. In 1970 the RNZAF adapted the RAF roundel that it had previously been using, to include a red kiwi instead of a red circle. The roundel remained unchanged until 2010 when the kiwi motif was streamlined to become the kiwi that appears in the roundel today.
The coin depicts highly distinctive Skyhawks rendered in three dimensional relief with a frosted effect that contrasts beautifully with the polished background. The Skyhawks are flying in a ‘missing man’ formation - an aerial salute used to represent loss that is often performed as part of an aircraft flypast at funerals and memorial events. Its inclusion on this highly collectable $1 coin is representative of the importance of remembrance to the RNZAF.
An RNZAF pilot from the past is shown in full flying gear at the forefront of the coin – standing out brilliantly in three dimensions in a detailed frosted finish. The dedicated personnel who commit their lives to serving the RNZAF, both in the air and on the ground, have been vital to its success in the past 75 years.
Featured around the inner rim of the coin are lines resembling an aircraft instrument that shows the flying height of an aircraft. Beautifully inscribed around the upper outer rim is the official celebration slogan: ‘Celebrating 75 years of service to New Zealand’. The lower outer rim features the words ‘Royal New Zealand Air Force’, adding to the authenticity and collectability of this commemorative coin issue.
The 75 Years of the RNZAF coin is beautifully presented alongside a finely crafted enamel pin, which depicts the official RNZAF badge. The pin is the perfect accompaniment to this official silver proof coin, and together they represent the heritage and tradition of the RNZAF.