Te Ūaka The Lyttelton Museum wishes all Lyttelton Historical Museum Society members and supporters a very Happy New Year.
This quite joyful image seems a fitting way to herald in the New Year, taken as it was on New Brighton Beach on 26 January 1962. Summer holiday activity for these two unidentified women; could one of them be an air hostess? If you look closely a Teal airline bag sits on the sand at the feet of the woman on the left hand side of the image and she sports a hat that may well have been part of an airline uniform. Or perhaps she has flown trans-Tasman to visit family in Aotearoa New Zealand and a day at the beach was in order.
TEAL or The Tasman Empire Airways Limited was a collaboration between the New Zealand, United Kingdom and Australian governments, which resulted in the creation of a new airline company in 1939. For its first 20 years, three Short S.30 Empire class flying boats flew the Tasman service and what was known as the Coral service from Auckland to Fiji, Samoa, the Cook Islands and Tahiti, creating quite a spectacle as they landed and departed. Hot meals and morning and afternoon teas were prepared on board and a dumb waiter was used between the two decks of the flying boats.
Use of land-based planes began in 1954, when the popular Auckland to Sydney service converted to Douglas DC-6 aircraft and in 1960 those craft also began flying the Coral Route. In 1947 the New Zealand Government established the NAC (New Zealand National Airways Corporation), as the country’s primary domestic carrier; in April 1961 it bought the Australian share of TEAL. Rebranded as Air New Zealand in April 1978, this enlarged corporation offered both international and domestic services and is the forerunner to the organisation we know today.