TEAL becomes Air New Zealand

1 April 1965

Air New Zealand DC-8 aircraft, 1960s
Air New Zealand DC-8 aircraft, 1960s (Alexander Turnbull Library, GG-11-0760)

New Zealand’s international airline, Tasman Empire Airways Limited (TEAL), was renamed Air New Zealand Limited.

The New Zealand, United Kingdom and Australian governments had established TEAL in 1939 to provide a trans-Tasman air link. TEAL’s Auckland–Sydney flights began in April 1940, using Short S30 Empire flying boats. 

For 20 years TEAL’s flying boats provided a memorable spectacle as they took off and landed near city centres. The renowned 1950s Coral Route from Auckland to Fiji, Samoa, the Cook Islands and Tahiti contributed its own distinctive legends. 

A conversion to land-based planes began in 1954, when the popular Auckland–Sydney service switched to Douglas DC-6 aircraft. In 1960 land-based planes also took over the Coral Route. New Zealand assumed full ownership of TEAL in April 1961.

In 1947 the government had established the New Zealand National Airways Corporation (NAC), which became the country’s primary domestic carrier. In April 1978 NAC merged with Air New Zealand. The enlarged Air New Zealand was the first local airline to offer both international and domestic services.