Canberra Restoration - NZ Warbirds




The fuselage of  English Electric Canberra B(I)Mk8 – WT346 has completed the 1200km road journey from Christchurch and now resides at its new home, Ardmore.      The ex-RAF airframe will undergo a 2 to 3 year restoration programme to closely represent the Canberra B(I)Mk12 type operated by the RNZAF between 1959 and 1970.  Worldwide, there are no known B(I)Mk12 versions in existence.

The Canberra Support Group (CSG) has been setup to oversee this ambitious restoration project and consists of ex Canberra pilots, maintenance engineers, ground crew and aviation enthusiasts. When completed WT346 will be on static display available for public viewing as part of the NZ Warbirds at Ardmore collection.

Canberra Restoration - NZ Warbirds

A former RNZAF English Electric Canberra B(I)12. It is intended to paint WT346 in a similar camo scheme as depicted in this photograph.

WT346 was manufactured in 1955/56 and was delivered to No.88 Squadron RAF based at Wildenrath, Germany.  It served a number of years with No.88 before being loaned to the Ministry of Aircraft for use in Electromagnetic Compatibility tests; after 2 months she was returned to Wildenrath and the squadron was renumbered to No.14 Squadron in December 1962.

WT346 was later transferred to No.3 Squadron RAF based at Geilenkirchen and subsequently No. 16 Squadron RAF based in Laarbruch.  WT346 became “Instructional Airframe 8197M” on 22 May 1972 and struck off charge on 8 Aug 1972.  It was moved to the museum at RAF Colerne on 17 Jun 1972 and to the Cosford Aerospace Museum in Apr 1976.

WT346 was then obtained by Mr Albert Stone, a London scrap dealer, then subsequently purchased by the Air Force Museum of New Zealand Trust Board in 1993 and shipped to New Zealand.

Canberra Restoration - NZ Warbirds

WT346 when it was with No.16 Squadron RAF. Copyright Urs Baettig


Project Background

Restoration to static display has been made possible under a loan agreement between the Air Force Museum of New Zealand Trust Board and New Zealand Warbirds. This arrangement has come about due to a change of direction at the Air Force Museum and review of policy around prioritising projects with RNZAF provenance in line with the Museum’s mission.

Coupled with increased pressure on available storage space at Wigram, it resulted in a concerted effort to find an appropriate new home for this relatively unique aircraft. The Museum is delighted to be able to work with New Zealand Warbirds to give this historic aircraft a new lease of life.

Canberra Restoration - NZ Warbirds

Fuselage of Canberra WT346 in the technical workshop being prepared for transportation. Air Force Museum of New Zealand.


A formal restoration plan will keep a detailed track of progress. The initial cleaning of the fuselage and other components will be carried out by volunteers under supervision. Specific restoration of components will occur under the direct guidance of personnel experienced in aircraft restoration to ensure that major components can be reassembled safely.

The project group has broken the restoration phase into the following stages:

Stage 1

The relocation of the fuselage to Ardmore to be followed by all of the components necessary to complete the restoration for static display and representative of the RNZAF Canberra B(I)12 variant.

Stage 2

Restoration of components to allow complete assembly over the next 2 or 3 years.

Stage 3

Assessment of options and provision of an all-weather home for this heritage aircraft.

The target date for completion is February 2024 subject to reassessment when all components have been inspected.

We have a Facebook page also dedicated to our restoration progress, please click here

Canberra Restoration - NZ Warbirds

WT346’s fuselage being washed after completing its 1200Km journey from Christchurch.


This project is totally self-sufficient in that no direct funding will be available from the NZ Warbirds Association Inc.  Fundraising commenced 1 November 2020 for Stages 1 & 2 while funding for Stage 3 will follow a decision on the final location and housing requirements.

If you would like to get involved by donating any small amount you can afford to help in the restoration of WT346, please make a donation to NZ Aviation Heritage Trust, a registered charity, account 12 3031 0819442 000.

All donations will be provided a donation receipt and certificate to thank you. Donors will be given the opportunity to become members of the Canberra Support Group and will receive regular updates on funding and restoration progress.



Canberra Restoration - NZ Warbirds

Progress Gallery

A selection of images taken throughout the project.  We will aim to regularly update the progress on this unique and exciting project however the most up to date information and progress photos will be on our Facebook page which can be visited via clicking the following link.

  • What a birthday gift from my family. A stunning flight and my wife said my smile after climbing (clambering) out of the cockpit was to be seen. Gary my pilot was totally professional and made it all so enjoyable.

    Malcolm G June 2019

  • Wow, thats an amzing day full of discovery and nature. Loved the cruise! You guys rock.

    Mike McVey Gisborne NZ

  • Lovely cafe with a great view of all the planes taking off. The museum guides are super friendly and my son absolutely loves coming here. Highly recommended.

    Dianechen10 February 2020

  • Fantastic opportunity to get up close to some of the icons of New Zealand’s aviation history - with the majority being flyable examples. Knowable guides to fill in any gaps in your own knowledge. Topped off by an amazing scale model collection.

    MarkR986 October 2020

  • Interesting guided visit around the War Birds Facility, get up close to the war planes. Beautiful display. Would suggest combine with a visit to the Auckland Botanical Gardens. A Great Auckland Day Out.

    Sandra S February 2020

  • On the Ardmore Airport (the busiest airport in the southern hemisphere) are two hangers of war planes. I have lived nearby for years and the planes often fly over my house but I have never before visited the exhibition. They have a Spitfire, a P45 Mustang, a Skyhawk and many many more aircraft. Almost all of them still fly. I was fascinated by the pre-WWII planes. The beauty of the engineering is fascinating and there are not many places you can get so close to the planes. You can also pay to have a flight in many of he planes. That is something I am planning for later in the year. The staff were all very helpful and knowledgeable. I will be taking all my visitors there in future.

    Howard A January 2020


Yak ZK-XXS at for a Bay of Plenty TikiTour. A few other NZ Warbird members are visiting airfields around the Coromandel today with rides being carried out at Pauanui. 👍☀️😎 #yak52 #avgeek #warbird #summer #Tauranga #nz #nzwarbirds
Something new has arrived in our WW1 Hangar. The Canberra team have been hard at work on WT436s fuselage with final touch ups being applied including the silver fern to the roundels. Today she was relocated to a temporary new home in the WW1 hangar until a more permanent location is organised in the main hangar. Watch this space. #canberra #restoration #nzwarbirds #warbird #avgeek #roundel #silverfern #rnzaf #onlyatardmore
P40E ZK-MOM 1st test flight - a real stunner👍 #P40 #Kittyhawk #p40kittyhawk #Allison #curtis #pioneeraero #nzwarbirdsatardmore #wherewarbirdsfly #ardmoreairport #warbird #Avgeek #Aviation #aviator #nz #onlyinnz #auckland #restoration #heritage
🐎 Our resident NA P-51D Mustang (ZK-TAF) taxing in after a successful adventure flight from a few years ago. 📷 @stu_65 📍 Ardmore Airport #warbird #Avgeek #keepemflying #NZWarbirdsAtArdmore #nzmustdo #mustang #p51 #p51mustang #Adventure #Aviation #aviator #nz #auckland #OnlyAtArdmore
Jet blast from the past...🚀 Ex RNZAF Strikemaster NZ6370 with DH.115 Vampire T.55 ZK-RVM at Wings over Wairarapa several years ago. #jet #strikemaster#vampire #formation #Aviation #Avgeek #aviator #warbird #KeepEmFlying #onlyinnz #nzwarbirds #nz #dh115 #dh100
No filter! A repeat, but worth repeating. Taken just after landing and still hot 🔥 #v12 #supermarinespitfire #adventureflightsnz #nzwarbirdsatardmore #wherewarbirdsfly #ardmoreairport #keepemflying
Harvard 57 being put through her paces on an adventure flight earlier this year ✈️ #nzmustdo #aviation #gopro #warbirds #adventure #avgeek
NZ Warbirds at Ardmore is open SUNDAYS only. Find everything you need to know about visiting here.
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