Kaikoura Lights

On December 21, 1978, a series of UFO sightings occurred over the Kaikoura mountain ranges in New Zealand. The first sightings were made by the crew of a Safe Air Ltd cargo aircraft, which observing a series of strange lights around their plane which followed them for several minutes before disappearing and then reappearing elsewhere. The pilots described some of the lights to be the size of a house and others small but flashing brilliantly. These objects appeared on the air traffic controller radar in Wellington, aircraft’s on-board radar, and were sighted by hundreds of observers.

Over a week later, on December 30, 1978, an Australian television crew recorded a similar event on film onboard a cargo aircraft flying between Wellington and Christchurch. The UFOs were filmed, tracked by Wellington ATC, and observed by witnesses simultaneously, with one of the objects following the aircraft almost until it landed. When the aircraft took off again, it was paced by an enormous orb-like object for fifteen minutes. Again, the event was filmed, observed and tracked, and the resulting footage garnered worldwide interest and speculation.

Following the sightings, the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), police, and Carter Observatory in Wellington cooperated in an investigation. The New Zealand Ministry of Defence stated it was difficult to explain the lights, “short of them being some anomalous type of reflection or refraction, cars or trains” and it was probable the Wellington radar returns were “spurious”.