UFO sightings have occurred in close vicinity to schools, the earliest recorded in 1965.

Learning Curve: UFO Sightings by New Zealand School Children and Staff

A number of UFO sightings have been witnessed worldwide by school pupils and their teachers, including the well-documented Westall School UFO landing incident of 1966, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, and the 1994 Ariel School UFO landing incident in Ruwa, Zimbabwe.

Although New Zealand has no UFO landing reports associated with schools, sightings have occurred in close vicinity to schools, the earliest recorded in 1956 and the most recent in 2001.  Following are six such examples.


Date:  Thursday 20 September 1956

Time:  1600hrs

Location:  Claudelands, Hamilton, Waikato, New Zealand

Southwell School [Claudelands] boys and masters won’t forget the 20th September, maybe for some time to come.  At approximately 4 PM on that date, a brilliant white object, slightly larger than the moon, held their undivided attention.

Here is Mr. Parry’s (one of the masters) personal report, made to the Hamilton UFO Research Society:

“The object was approximately due north about 50° elevation at, I should judge, 3,000 to 4,000 ft. altitude.  It was brilliant white in colour.  I cannot recall having seen such a dazzling pure whiteness. The object remained in a stationary position for at least a minute; it then moved away at remarkable speed to the north, rapidly becoming smaller until it was lost to sight. It took 10 seconds to disappear.

There were no clouds in the area of the sky in which the object was observed. No markings, motions, spinning, etc. could be seen. It simply appeared as a perfect disc. It was observed by two other masters and some 50 boys.”

(Source: CSINZ Whenuapai, Flying Saucers, Vol.4, Iss.3, Jan-Mar. 1957)


Date:  Thursday 10 April 1957

Time:  1000hrs

Location:  Taradale, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

(Hawkes Bay Herald Tribune, 11th April 1957)

Artist’s impression

“Standard four children of the Taradale School are convinced they have seen their first “flying saucer”.  About 30 children were in the playground during morning break at 10 AM yesterday when they saw a long silver, cigar-like object glide horizontally over the Redcliffe Hills. It suddenly turned upwards and disappeared behind the clouds. The children are positive the object had no wings, tailpiece or cabin, and they say it made no noise whatsoever. The object was also sighted from Bay View and suburban Napier as well.”

(Source: CSINZ Whenuapai, Flying Saucers, Vol.5, Iss.2, Oct-Dec. 1957)


Date:  Friday 20 December 1968

Time:  1120hrs

Location:  Te Mata, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

 (Hawkes Bay Herald Tribune, 20 Dec 1968)

A group of children at Te Mata School, Havelock North, believe they saw a flying saucer at close range this morning – and it frightened them.

Description of the object, by half a dozen children who saw it hovering above an orchard near the school at 11.20 AM, varied in detail, but all agreed to its size, shape and all said they were “scared”.

They said they could see a hatch and antenna as the saucer-shaped object hovered at low level over some poplar trees.

They reported that the object made a clicking noise and was about half the size of the school’s swimming pool. The children were in a non-swimming group and drew the attention of their teacher – who was giving swimming lessons to other members of the class – to the object as it suddenly “shot upward” and travelled [northwards] towards Hastings, leaving a vapour trail.

Teacher watched

A teacher said he watched the object for about 10 minutes as it travelled backward and forward across the city of Hastings. At times the teacher thought it could be an aeroplane, but at other times it appeared to be too round to fit the description of any aircraft he knew.

He said he believed the children were genuine in their descriptions of the object.  Bridge Pa aerodrome and the Civil Aviation Department at Napier city, reported no aircraft in the area at the time of the sighting at 11.20 AM.

One of the witnesses, Gavin King, 10, said he saw the object touching the top of a tree about 100 yards away from the school playground. “It was round with something on top … there were lights all around the bottom and there was a sort of hatch on the side. Flames were coming out of the bottom and there was a bit of a vapour.  It was white on the bottom with a black band round the side.  It made a ticking noise like a clock.

Graham Hebden, 10, said when he first saw it, the object looked like a little bird, but it grew to the size of about half the school’s swimming pool as it finally hovered over the trees.  Other children described the object as having round attachments, that it had a vapour trail, and a diamond-shaped light on the dome of the object.  The object was seen and described similarly by other residents in the area who described an unusual sound as it “revved up all of a sudden and went straight up into the sky.”


(Wellington Sunday News, 22 Dec 1968)

Parents of 32 pupils of Te Mata School, Havelock North no longer joke about flying saucers – their children all say they saw one of these “outer space” objects floating above their playground on Friday morning.

The object was spotted when a standard four class was at the school baths. It moved across an orchard then hung motionless above arrow of poplar trees – 100 yards from the swimming pool.  The object was described as a 25ft gleaming disc, with flashing lights, antennae, and a strange diamond-shaped dome light.

Most of those in the water did not notice the object until the words “spaceship”, were yelled to them from a group near the dressing sheds.  One witness said he saw it first among the clouds and then it headed straight for the school.

“Someone yelled, “Here comes a spaceship!”, and ran to tell the teacher, he said.

The object then hovered above the trees and later belched flames and vapour.  Suddenly it turned and headed back across the poplars and shot into the sky towards Hastings.  Another schoolboy said the saucer had lights at the bottom with a black band around the side. He could also see a hatch and two antennae on the craft. “It made a clicking noise,” he said.  A young witness, Lee Curran said the object glowed with a ghostly light. “It looked as if it didn’t come from anywhere in this world.”

The teacher who was called to watch the object said he had it in view for about ten minutes after it turned back from the poplars.  He said that it appeared to be too round to fit the description of any aircraft he knew.  The headmaster, Mr. C. Hall said he had closely questioned the children after the sighting.  “I am convinced they saw something and I believe it was an honest sighting,” he said.


Date:  Thursday 7 May 1970

Time:  1405hrs

Location:  Maraenui, Napier, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

(Napier Daily Telegraph, Friday 8 May 1970.  (This local paper was the only one to report the incident, while the main NZ papers ignored it altogether)

A huge unidentified flying object which appeared as a “hole in the sky” as it hovered near Napier was watched for up to 20 minutes by the headmaster, teachers and more than 400 children at Richmond School, Maraenui yesterday afternoon.

Witnesses to the sighting said there was an “unearthly quiet” as the usually noisy children stopped their play and watched awed and fascinated by the saucer-shaped object. The headmaster, Mr. W. Billing, said he was watching the children playing in the school grounds when he noticed the object move in from the south.

“I thought it was an aircraft at first,” he said. “Then I realized it had stopped moving and it appeared as an extremely brilliant object in the clear sky.”

Glistening Object

As he drew his teachers’ attention to it, the children also spotted the object and stopped their play. “It was like a huge, wingless plane with the sun glistening on it. But what amazed us was that it was also glistening on the side away from the sun,” he said. The object appeared to be hovering in an area between Westshore and Tongoio.

“We were watching it when a plane came into view and landed. There was no comparison between the object and aircraft,” he said.

Like Round Ball

After hovering for three or four minutes, the object began to move away.

“It then moved at right angles, and the next thing we knew it was like a round ball with the middle like a transparent-like sheen.  It then flattened out again and continued to move away in a straight line to become like a bright star.  All of a sudden it seemed to light up again, like an extremely brilliant planet then faded again before it moved away at speed,” Mr. Billing said.  The object was last sighted about 2.23 PM.

Appeared “Solid”

Coveny’s Drawing

“It wasn’t a weather balloon, which you wouldn’t see change from a round to an oval shape,” Mr. Billing said.  “It was also definitely a solid object, and you seemed to have the feeling it was metallic.”

“One of the teachers, Mr. A. Coveny, said he had read reports of people seeing unidentified objects but he had always been “rather skeptical” … until yesterday.  “We thought half of Napier would have seen it,” he said. “Here at the school, everyone was standing with their mouths open trying to work out a logical answer to it.”  A pupil had come to him for an answer.

“He asked me if it was a flying saucer, and I said ‘yes’ because I couldn’t give any other answer,” Mr. Coveny said.  The sighting had stopped the usual sounds of noisy play.

“The whole area seemed to be so unnaturally quiet that it was uncanny,” he said. It was not only the movements of the ‘flying saucer’ which were unearthly, but also the appearance of the craft when it changed its shape.  There was an iridescence from it, and it looked as though it was an actual hole in the sky – just as if you were looking through it into another dimension,” the teacher said.

Teacher’s Personal Report

Allan Owen Coveny (42), of Oldham Ave. Napier, supervisor of Junior Classes:  “It was 2 o’clock playtime. The headmaster and I were standing outside the administration block, when I felt its presence. We looked up and saw this brightness move in from the south west.”

According to Mr. Coveny the object looked like the wingless fuselage of a plane with both ends ill-defined. It moved in slowly for a few minutes, then stopped and hovered for five minutes like a helicopter, after which it began to move away. An extreme brilliance emanated from the object which was not comparable to any known light but different from the sun which was behind the object in the north-west.

The object was considerably larger than a jet plane and its brilliance fluctuated according to its movement. When it started moving, it changed direction at right angles and in the next moment it changed its shape to that of a round ball, its centre showing up as a transparent-like sheen. While it moved in a north-westerly direction, it increased its speed and was soon moving faster than a jet. It remained visible for some time in the distance before fading out altogether. It was a clear sunny day, no clouds and excellent viewing conditions.  The sighting lasted approximately 25 minutes.

(Source: NZSATCU Timaru, Iss.68, May-June 1970)


Date:  Tuesday 27 May 1975

Time:  1400hrs

Location:  Bellevue, Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

The UFO was seen by all children and teacher, Standard 4, Bellevue School. Duration of sighting approximately 10 minutes.  It was viewed to the south towards the coastal settlement of Papamoa, distance about ½ mile, angle about 30°.

Artistic Impression

Attention was drawn to the UFO by a boy remarking, “There’s a shiny thing over there.” At the same time it was noted [there was] a red aeroplane near vicinity. The following report by a 10-year-old girl was later verified by the teacher:

“The plane, with UFO behind, was flying from north to south, parallel to a ridge and probably a little beyond it, both appeared about the same size as cars seen at that distance.  The UFO appeared to be a chrome colour, cigar-shaped, slightly curved underneath, more flat on top, the stern end finer than its nose, both ends rounded. [There were] no portholes or windows. [It] was always bright and shiny, no wings or tail and no trail left in travel.

The UFO moved along behind the plane at a slightly slower speed, in a constantly nose-down position (even when rising upward). Measured by rule at arm’s length, both appeared to be 4 inches above the ridge and directly behind the college [a nearby senior school].

The plane then turned to its left and, as if fearing detection, the UFO also veered left into a cloudbank. As the plane did another manouevre, which took it behind the cloud, and back the way it had come, the silver object reappeared further south in the clouds-end, showing only its front half, tipped downward, where it hovered for a few seconds. It then fully appeared and, like the plane, disappeared from sight, behind (or in the cloud) returning north.”

“Suddenly it reappeared, again showing only its front half, in a hovering position at the north end of the same large cloudbank, having gone back to where it had first been seen. It then just as suddenly (as if it had seen the plane coming from behind the north end of the cloud) dived steeply a short distance, then tipped upwards sharply and disappeared from sight at about four times the speed of the plane, which by then had reappeared at the same point and was again heading south, in the opposite direction from the UFO’s final flight direction.”

At the same time as the sighting, note was also taken that there was a red aeroplane flying in the near vicinity and in the same direction.  Both the Fletcher-type plane and the UFO which was behind it, were flying from north to south, parallel with the top of the ridge and possibly a little beyond it.

(Source: Xenolog Timaru, No.101, Nov-Dec 1975


Date:  March 2001

Time:  2.00 PM

Location:  Katikati, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand

Artistic Impression

Three classes of senior pupils and their teachers at Katikati College, north of the city of Tauranga, observed what they thought was a silver-grey helicopter with engine problems falling vertically at speed from an altitude of approximately 1500 feet.  As the object descended it began to slow, and a “cloud” formed around it, completely concealing it, which the observers assumed was smoke from the motor.  The observers believed that a helicopter, possibly on fire, was about to impact somewhere in the township.  There was no time to alert anyone, and they watched in horror, expecting the worst.  At around 500 feet the object suddenly came to a dead stop, and there was a bright flash as a silver-grey object horizontally shot out of the cloud at such speed that it was barely discernible, heading in a southerly direction.  The cloud immediately dissipated.

Six days later the event was repeated and corroborated.  Some 15 kilometres south of Katikati, a seamstress was at work in front of a large widow when she heard an unusual soft whistling sound.  She looked up and saw a silver object descending vertically at speed towards a nearby paddock, and as it descended a “cloud” formed around it.  She reached for her phone to call the local fire brigade believing a light aircraft was about to crash, but the same scenario as outlined above occurred with the “cloud” coming to a halt, and a small silver-grey object exited the cloud at speed.

Source: UFOCUS NZ archive

Suzy Hansen © 2019