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New Zealand Government Opens UFO Files 100

Posted by samzenpus
from the the-truth-is-down-there dept.
astroengine writes "Following hot on the heels of a series of international UFO sighting disclosures, the New Zealand government has joined the party and made public 2,000 pages of UFO eyewitness accounts dating back to 1952. Helpfully, the NZ newspaper The Dominion Post has scanned the documents and has made them available online. Among the accounts of alien encounters and strange lights in the sky is one of New Zealand's most famous UFO mystery: the Kaikoura sighting. But was it aliens? Probably not, but it makes for an entertaining read."

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New Zealand Government Opens UFO Files

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  • UFO? Aliens? Lights in the sky? Not so strange when I see that this article has been posted 12 minutes ago and no one posted yet...
    • by lennier1 (264730)

      The bulk of the readers can't reply right now. They've been abducted to be fitted with anal probes.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Does rule 34 work both ways?

        If there is porn of it, it should exist. Right?

      • Offtopic? (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The bulk of the readers can't reply right now. They've been abducted to be fitted with anal probes.

        This article is about UFOs, not the TSA.

    • by IrquiM (471313)
      Some of us actually RTFA!
  • no one posted immediately b/c there was an alien-induced loss of time...
    • by mb1 (966747)

      no, nothing that interesting - it's because summer is finally arriving and we're all sunburnt.

      • by mim (535591)
        hm...but is it an *alien* sunburn? like in Close Encounters of the Third Kind?
      • You stole our summer you buggers. It hasn't been over 20 in Melbourne all week.

        • by mim (535591)
          please have it back...only so many clothes you can take off when it's too hot...under appropriate circumstances *ahem*
    • by Xest (935314)

      On one of the last days to get your Christmas shopping done too.

      Bastards.

  • In my experience most people misidentify pedestrian phenomena and call it a UFO. And being New Zealand I bet most of the sightings occur around Guy Fawkes night.
    • by srussia (884021)

      In my experience most people misidentify pedestrian phenomena and call it a UFO.

      MFOs anyone?

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Mother-Fucking Objects?
    • by commlinx (1068272) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @06:29AM (#34650444) Journal

      I've never taken a serious interest in astronomy but on a few drunken star-gazing nights I've seen a few fast moving lights. I'd always put them down to "shooting stars" without giving it much more thought. While they were UFOs to me in the sense I couldn't identify them I recently discovered the site http://www.heavens-above.com/ [heavens-above.com] that has excellent satellite pass predictions.

      I set up a tripod a few weeks ago and took a photo of the ISS as it passed over at a good azimuth and altitude. It really suprised me how bright it was both in the image and to the naked eye. Now I often look at the site and wander out the back for a look at appropriate times. Depending on the background terrain and path it's taking I can see how a lot of man-made satellites could be mistaken for something extraterrestrial.

      While NZ of course have an airforce I'd doubt there's a lot of cutting-edge new tech being developed there, but their clear skies and southern location would make it a good location for viewing those sort of passes. Much like here in Tasmania that's only a little further north.

      • by Kagura (843695)
        There is a great Iridium satellite app for the iPhone, too. Just search for "Iridium" on the App Store. It uses your current location and has a few cool features (like showing the "flare" track overlaid on Google Maps imagery so you can figure out whose front yard would be the best, Jerry, the BEST to view it from.)
      • by MarkTina (611072)

        "While NZ of course have an airforce"

        Ummm ... well ... we sort of do ... kind of ... in fact here is what we have .. fear us!!!!

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_New_Zealand_Air_Force#Aircraft [wikipedia.org]

        No sniggering in the back row please!

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I saw strange lights in the sky around Mt Ruapehu late one night when driving through the desert there (south of Taupo on SH1), to the point where the whole van of people was saying "What the f*** was that?". We saw a few more lights/explosions and then pulled over on a hill overlooking the plain with a video camera but didn't see anything else. After reading about ball lightning online I think it was probably that. Either that or munitions from a nearby base, but I'm pretty sure the area we were looking at

        • by shermo (1284310)

          It's the army training zone, and clearly marked as so. I've heard explosions and seen lights on numerous occasions. I suppose it's rare enough to be unexpected though.

    • by Zedrick (764028)
      > In my experience most people misidentify pedestrian phenomena and call it a UFO.

      Uh, what? So they see something they can identify, but somehow gets confused and think it's something they can't identify?
      • > In my experience most people misidentify pedestrian phenomena and call it a UFO.

        Uh, what? So they see something they can identify, but somehow gets confused and think it's something they can't identify?

        Sure. The Kaikoura thing was basically lights in the sky and some radar tracks which might or might not have been correlated with them.

      • by QuantumG (50515) *

        Yes, "UFO" is a stupid term. Has been for years. To normal, sane, people it means "I saw something flying that didn't look like a plane" but to drooling morons it means "OMG! Aliens!"

        • Yes, and the normal people also have to figure out if you meant "I saw something flying that didn't look like a plane" or "OMG! Aliens!". I saw a UFO once, it was probably a blimp, but I wasn't close enough to verify, so technically it is still a UFO, to me at least.
        • by EEDAm (808004)
          The term's not stupid; it's the usage of UFO = OMGZ ALIENZ!!!11 that's the problem as you point out but their stupidity doesn't make the term stupid. Unidenfied flying object - I rather like it's functional efficiency.
          • by QuantumG (50515) *

            Something like "Unexplainable Aerial Phenomena" would do the trick. As soon as it is adequately explained it would stop being a UAP. But unfortunately the past tense of unidentified means that once someone declares something a UFO it always will be.

    • by Internetuser1248 (1787630) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @07:56AM (#34650652)
      correct me if I am wrong here but a UFO is a pedestrian phenomenon. I am able to identify a great many things in the sky to some degree, but there will always be things i cant identify. In the widest sense of the word unidentified one could even say that every flying object is unidentified by someone. Even by the strictest definition there are numerous species of insect that are not know to science and are able to fly, and if that is not strict enough then there are occasionally strange objects in the sky that no one really knows what they are. What I am getting at here is that UFO DOES NOT MEAN ALIEN SPACESHIP. In fact if you saw an alien spaceship, and you were 100% sure that it was an alien spaceship, it would not be a UFO as you have identified it. Now that that is out of the way I think it is great that these reports are being made public, I don't even know why they would ever need to be secret. I find flying objects, unidentified or otherwise highly interesting and think that attempting to identify them is interesting and worthwhile.
    • .. are notorious for causing UFo reports. The float silently and flicker in strange ways and to the stupid that equals alien spacecraft.

    • by GooberToo (74388)

      In my experience most people misidentify pedestrian phenomena and call it a UFO.

      In my experience anything which can not be identified IS a UFO. Good thing that's the definition too. Ultimately, such willful ignorance undermines the acronyms credibility which makes people look even dumber.

      Part of the problem here is that all too often people constantly misuse "UFO". Its constantly misused to indicate aliens are in control. Such willful misuse of a completely credible acronym, "UFO", only leads people to cringe when hearing it, despite the fact, when properly used, there is nothing the l

    • Kinda reminds me of when people show a picture of a fictitious flying saucer and call it a UFO. Clearly if you have a clear picture of it is an IFO (Identified Flying Object) and if it is also on the ground, then its a IGO (Identified Grounded Object) Then again if you know what it is just call it what it is and not a UFO.

    • Misidentification? How else would you classify Flying Objects that are Unidentified, except UFO (Unidentified Flying Objects).

      Note: The term UFO is not synonymous with extra terrestrial space craft; In fact, once a UFO is identified as such it is no longer a UFO.

  • by Obble (1680532)

    I was expected to see in the image a sheep being picked up half way in the tractor beam.
    kind of disappointed its not there. :-(

  • ...increase in UFO activity in exceptionally hot summers. They must be out to trophy Kakapo sculls...
  • Kaikoura sighting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @06:16AM (#34650388) Homepage Journal

    My bet is that the objects in the Kaikoura sighting were normal aircraft. Maybe somebody decided to try his hands at IFR flying without an appropriate rating. The radar data is consistent with a normal aircraft and the rapid movement on the film is obviously caused by camera shake.

    • Given the mentality of New Zelanders with regard to these sorts of things, ie diy projects, flying, checking with the authorities first etc. This is highly probable. Stuff like this [wikipedia.org] has been going on for a long time. The strangest thing I ever saw in the sky were three red lights in a large triangle at night in Berlin. Given the distance apart, speed, lack of sound and perfect synchronisation the most likely explanation I could come up with was 3 stealth helecopters flying in formation. While this seems lik
      • The strangest thing I ever saw in the sky were three red lights in a large triangle at night in Berlin. Given the distance apart, speed, lack of sound and perfect synchronisation the most likely explanation I could come up with was 3 stealth helecopters flying in formation.

        With all due respect, you really have no good way to judge the distance and speed. Human are terrible at judging these things without any useful surroundings or background. It's easy to make a reasonable guess at the speed and distance

        • by GooberToo (74388)

          Looking up at the sky the normal references are absent and humans make astoundingly poor estimates of what they are seeing.

          I just wanted to underscore the accuracy of what you're saying. Even pilots frequently have difficulty determining distance to clouds. And on the ground, its almost impossible to accurately estimate the height of clouds.

          Anyone who believes they can accurately estimate the size, altitude and speed of an object in the air, having no frame of reference, is deluding themselves and all who would listen.

    • These objects are well known as Foofighters (the rock band is named after them), during the WWII German pilots thought that Americans have some new kind of spy drones. On the other side of the front, US pilots thought that German rocketeers deployed those craft. After the war neither side claimed them.
      • I could believe ball lightening if there was activity around (and I know south island has a lot of weather). Maybe, maybe not.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Radio New Zealand had the radar operator who was on that night on for a chat about it the other day. Really interesting to hear the guy talk about it. Back then they covered the air space from the bottom half of the North Island and the top half of the South Island (or there abouts) from Wellington.

      There were two flights that night which they knew about, plus this bright flying light that never identified it self to air traffic controllers.

      Things I found interesting listening to this: Blenheim airport sighe

      • 40 miles is close to the maximum range for a primary radar (that is, not using a transponder on the aircraft). I wouldn't be at all surprised if the coverage was spotty. I recall from the book that the stationary track was considered evidence of a UFO (as opposed to a fixed wing aircraft or helicopter) but "stationary" needs to be qualified. The radar they had can't have had that much resolution. Helicopters can remain fairly stationary (wasn't as easy in those days without GPS).

        For me, this might just have

    • by rossdee (243626)

      The brightest of the objects in the video looked kinda like Jupiter. (at least the one filmed by the Aussie film crew. The pilot Cpt Bill Startup had seen the UFOs the previous night.which is why the TV crew was along on the 2nd night.)

      I doubt the NZ Government would have had any more knowledge of that sighting than anyone else - they didn't scramble the NZ Air Force or anything.

      One other thing about NZ and UFO sightings - NZ is very seismicly active, and in other places 'lights in the sky' have been linked

  • Sounds like a job for real men, Minister. Time to send in The Boys [wikipedia.org]!
  • Pre-1952? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by werdnapk (706357) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @06:26AM (#34650424)
    So why no reports from before 1952? Roswell incident occurred in 1947. I imagine before this people just attributed "UFO"s to natural "unexplained" causes, but then Roswell got so much exposure that I guess it made more sense for people to take the easy way out and say it's aliens. We're still discovering amazing natural occurrences in our atmosphere.

    I'm not saying a UFO have never stopped by to take a look, but 99.999% of reports are likely explained by natural causes.
    • by werdnapk (706357)
      Also a good percentage of reports are likely fraudulent as well. People want their 15 mins of fame.
    • Maybe there were no incidents to report in NZ until 1952, or maybe they just didn't take them seriously enough to create a report.
    • by GooberToo (74388)

      So why no reports from before 1952?

      Actually, world wide there are reports which go back thousands of years. UFOs are even documented in art work from The Renaissance [wikipedia.org] and by well known scholars. Even Christopher Columbus documents a UFO sighting in his journals as he sought the new world.

      More likely why there is no documentation before 1952 is because of the same reason its true (with varying dates) all around the world. Before such a time, no one was charged with recording such sightings.

      And for what its worth, crash sites are also reported

      • by loafula (1080631)

        Actually, world wide there are reports which go back thousands of years. UFOs are even documented in art work from The Renaissance [wikipedia.org] and by well known scholars. Even Christopher Columbus documents a UFO sighting in his journals as he sought the new world.

        More likely why there is no documentation before 1952 is because of the same reason its true (with varying dates) all around the world. Before such a time, no one was charged with recording such sightings.

        And for what its worth, crash sites are also reported long before Roswell. Others are reported all over the world, even including Germany, several decades before WWII.

        I don't get why you linked to the Wikipedia article about the Renaissance, but this link [crystalinks.com] is a lot more valid to your argument.

    • about a million more 9's after that decimal...then multiply by a billion

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Because Roswell didn't start it all. Previous to Roswell there was hysteria abut 'UFOs' At this time it looks like as science fiction was entering into the main stream theater, unexplained sighting became 'Aliens'. This is why the officer made his crack about aliens.

      Interestingly, even today when a big blockbuster about aliens is released, UFO sighting go up.

      The first modern recorded claim was Kenneth Arnold in June 1947. When the newspapers published his claim, sighting through the US soared. 1 guy and the

    • by splerdu (187709)

      > 99.999% of reports are likely explained by natural causes.

      Swamp gas?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Yes, I've been sad enough to read some of this today. On http://issuu.com/stuffnz/docs/air_244-10-1_volume_1_opened_1959_-_closed_1983, pages 94 and 95 are hugely entertaining. To quote: ..."even though it might well have been privately thought, "Well, the old bloke may be mad, or somewhat balmy, but still in these times, one never knows". I wish to state, firstly, that I use telepathy largely, with other methods of fine communication to any distance"

    Also:
    "they can densify at will .... by quickening or slow

    • by Zugok (17194)

      Good job this was classified!

      One of the talk-back radio stations in New Zealand said much the same thing, that these file were classified not because of any grand conspiracy to hide anything but to avoid embarrassing the people involved. Before the politically correct culture invaded, New Zealanders were quite blunt in what they said.

  • if we consider ourselves members of a rational society, this shouldn't be news.
    UFO reports should be public period. They are reports of phenomena that are unexplained to the observers. If everyone has access to those reports, than it's easier to find someone who can explain them. I really don't understand why these reports were secret in the first place (except for the names and similar stuff).

    • by gmuslera (3436)

      We aren't members of a rational society unfortunately. When you have things that you can't explain, reverse occam (the most complex possible explanation is the one that should be right) is what this "rational society" applies. And if there is a lot, people will see patterns even where they arent (except on them, of course) and act.

      For me, is news. Is hoping that somewhat this years we matured enough to not get a multitude of crazy cults popping around, manifestations on streets and mass suicides. And with

    • by Alphanos (596595) on Thursday December 23, 2010 @08:11AM (#34650700)
      These types of reports are typically kept secret because in addition to stories that are totally made up, they could be a source of intelligence on military aircraft. When testing new yet easily observable capabilities (i.e. VTOL), you don't want foreign powers reading your citizens' UFO sighting reports to judge how far along you are, or for that matter even to track down which airfields are being used to test prototype craft. In some cases depending on local geography and political relations, the reports might even contain information on craft of neighbouring nations.
      • And here we have the real problem. as long as there is the possibility of conflict, two separate groups will attempt to keep secrets. and you also get disinformation and so on.
        If this keeps happening, we can't really have a scientific study of UFO phenomena. And it's annoying, because some people honestly want to know what they saw, and sometimes there is a conspiracy to hide the truth (military planes or similar).

        I can certainly see why most serious scientists just ignore the issue for now...

        • by geekoid (135745)

          There ahve been many very good studies on the UFO phenomenon as well as very good study of every known case, and studies of some UFO sighting not made public..at the time of the study.

          OTOH, you said this on your site:
          "ideally, any rational being should be aware that if a statement is not falsifiable, than both possibilities are just as likely to be true. "

          Which tells me you lack critical thinking skills and can not add anything to rational to any topic about UFOs.

      • by dbIII (701233)
        Why kept secret? Probably because they kept the pay books in the same filing cabinet. It's not a very large air force.
        I think they are flightless these days.
        • by Zugok (17194)

          There's no combat wing, we still have choppers and transport aircraft. The air force are essentially civilians.

      • by PmanAce (1679902)
        "they could be a source of intelligence on military aircraft"
        New Zealand has top secret military aircrafts?

        " the reports might even contain information on craft of neighbouring nations"
        Those Papau New Guina aircrafts are state of the art!
      • by rossdee (243626)

        NZ never hafd any top secret military aircraft. In 1978 we had A4 Skyhawks and BAC Strikemasters. The only state of the art aircraft in NZ skies back then were top-dressers (agricultural aircraft used for spreading fertilizer.)

    • by mpe (36238)
      if we consider ourselves members of a rational society, this shouldn't be news. UFO reports should be public period. They are reports of phenomena that are unexplained to the observers. If everyone has access to those reports, than it's easier to find someone who can explain them.

      Many people are not rational about UFOs. Hence you get the idea of alien spacecraft/robot probes. Rather than weather/aviation/planets/etc.

      really don't understand why these reports were secret in the first place (except for the
    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      if we consider ourselves members of a rational society, this shouldn't be news.

      And it certainly should not be listed in Slashdot "Idle". That's just insulting to all the people who have witnessed UFO's, including the six Air Force officers and one enlisted man who told their stories at the National Press Club event back in September about the rash of sightings at U.S. missile silos, including several cases of UFO's showing up and seemingly taking nuclear missiles off-line, or the air traffic controllers wh

  • This reads like "Project Blue Book" crap, which was later admitted by those involved to be nothing more than a public relations lie factory.

    A cursory flip through these documents reveals them to be a sampling of sleep-worthy accounts, (points of light in the sky which are easily identifiable as satellites or other mundane objects) and a collection of letters written by school children and un-balanced people along with the patient responses from overwrought defense officers charged with the duty of replying

    • by QuantumG (50515) *

      Arguments like yours are why the scientific method is such a necessity.

      • Arguments like yours are why the scientific method is such a necessity.

        Wrong. Scientific method is such a necessity because so many people refuse to do anything more than pay it lip service.

        If you stop putting on a nice civilly compliant act of knowledge seeking and go and actually seek some knowledge, you'll be much richer for the experience. You'll be ostracized, of course, but only by a bunch of cognitively dissonant muggles utterly unworthy of any respect whatsoever, so who cares?

        -FL

    • by Elbereth (58257)

      Really, I don't think life is nearly as interesting and exciting as you think it is. If you're getting that riled up over anything, it's time to take a moment and see if you've got all the facts. I used to get worked up over shit, too, until I discovered that the more I knew, the more apathetic I became. Now, I don't fight the apathy any more; I embrace it. There are no grand conspiracies, no illuminati, no NWO, and no alien coverups. And, even if there were, they'd be downright boring. This is the go

      • Thank you for the advice, but I'm going to ignore it. In fact, the more I learn, the more fascinating the world becomes and the less apathetic I grow. I certainly don't disagree that governments are incapable of imagination, but I don't see how that proves your point; 9/11 was utter Bruce Willis shlock designed for a low-brow TV addicted nation.

        Maybe your books, people, experiences, practices and modes of thinking need to be updated?

        Or maybe you need to avoid tap water? Fluoride poisoning is one of the l

    • by lennier (44736)

      the people involved must exist in a state filled with 800 pound gorillas

      As a citizen of the state involved (New Zealand), I can testify that this is entirely true [imdb.com], except that they're more like 60 tons [forbes.com].

      And you don't even want to know what kind of political muscle the other native wildlife species [stuff.co.nz] have.

  • Maybe you, my fellow Slashdotters, can offer insight. When people ask me if I believe we have been visited by creatures from other planets I point out that nowhere in the Universe will you find a place with unlimited resources and interstellar space travel would require a great deal of resources. To devote the time and energy into a project as massive as visiting another star system would be a massive undertaking which would need specific goals and a high probability of the mission being successful.

  • Of course it is aliens, it is in The Dominion Times http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominion_(Star_Trek) [wikipedia.org]

    • by shermo (1284310)

      The Dominion Post actually. A merger of The Dominion and The Evening Post. The Evening Post being one of the last surviving traditional evening papers.

  • Get to it before it gets ./'ed or someone decides that stuff.co.nz is another wikileaks!
  • We could just classify all the stories into a big database, and run some stats, like how many have seen circular ships, how many seen flashing lights, it would be interesting to see the most prevalent story is, as it could appear many times from different locations and give us a clue as to the most probable design for a ship, and how many could have been just flying aircrafts that military had designed, but not disclosed.

  • Do you think I would be wasting my time with SETI if we had already been visited?

    You'll hear the answer if funds transfer doesn't hit my account in the next 8 minutes

The economy depends about as much on economists as the weather does on weather forecasters. -- Jean-Paul Kauffmann

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