The Kaikoura Lights is a name given by the New Zealand media to a series of spectacular UFO sightings that took place over New Zealand’s South Island in late December of 1978. The first of the sightings occurred on the 21st of December, when the crew of a Safe Air Ltd cargo plane observed a group of strange luminous objects flying alongside them. They were followed by these mysterious objects (some of which were said to have been the size of a house) for several minutes before they vanished and then appeared at a different location in the sky. The objects were tracked on radar by Wellington Air Traffic Control as well as on the radar of the Safe Air Ltd aircraft and were also seen by hundreds of people on the ground.

On the 30th of December an Australian television crew was on-board an aircraft retracing the flight taken by the crew of the Safe Air Ltd plane which had encountered strange strange luminous objects on its way from Wellington to Christchurch. Not long into the flight they were contacted by Wellington Air Traffic Control and told they were being followed by an object. The crew then noticed a whole formation of luminous objects flying behind them. These objects were filmed by the television crew and were also recorded on radar by Wellington Air Traffic Control. One of the UFOs followed them all the way to the airport in Christchurch. When the aircraft took off again (this time heading for the town of Blenheim) it was met by a huge lighted orb, which followed the plane for 15 minutes. This giant object was also tracked on radar and captured on film by the television crew.

The film taken by the television crew was later analyzed by Dr. Bruce Maccabee — an American optical physicist formerly employed by the U.S. Navy. Dr. Maccabee concluded that the footage captured by the televison crew contained genuine images of UFOs. Regarding the Kaikoura sightings Dr. Maccabee said: “Some of the most technically interesting sightings are those in which radar plays a role. There are many ‘radar only’ sightings (with no coincident visual sightings). Of greater interest are the radar-visual cases in which (a) witness(es) report an object in the same direction and undergoing the same dynamics as a radar target.”… Dr. Maccabee also stated that: “These New Zealand sightings may be the most ‘instrumented’ in civilian ufology, with multiple witnesses, two independent tape recordings made during the sightings, colour movie film and ground and air radar.”…

The New Zealand Ministry of Defence was quick to dismiss the sightings, offering a range of explanations such as; the lights from squid boats reflected off clouds, unburned meteors, the planet Venus and the lights from trains or cars. None of these explanations make any sense when you consider the evidence. As John Cordy, — one of the air traffic controllers involved with the first sighting said: “They can come up with all sorts of reasons, what it was, but they haven’t explained why I can suddenly see Jupiter and Venus and the harbour lights and squid boats doing 140 knots on my radar.”… Despite the prosaic explanations put forward by the New Zealand Ministry of Defence, the results of the offical investigations were marked Top Secret and filed away in the National Archives in Wellington.

 By Solas Foinse | Staff Writer

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