The Tiger Moth was introduced to New Zealand both as an Air Force trainer and as a training aircraft at Club level. With the Second World War looming, production was started at De Havilland NZ’s plant at Rongotai, Wellington. Under the Commonwealths Elementary Flying Training School (E.F.T.S.) scheme, thousands of pilots, not only Kiwis, were trained in New Zealand at various airfields. In total, 345 DH82’s were built at Rongotai, establishing a solid base for the survival of the Tiger Moth into the modern era.
After the war, with lots of war-trained pilots returning, the aeroplanes were used for all sorts of commercial activity, from flight training to topdressing, this archetypal Kiwi way of spreading superphosphate fertiliser, and aerial baiting, another unique Kiwi form of helping to get pests under control.
But Tigers had been in use at Club level from the start, and a healthy number of them is kept flying today by enthusiasts, not least of the Tiger Moth Club.
Sources: The Tiger Moth Story, Bramson/Birch; De Havilland Aircraft Since 1909, A.J.Jackson; Vintage Aeroplanes in NZ, J.King