New Zealand Whisky to Commemorate Air Force Helicopter Fleet – New Zealand Whisky News

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New Zealand Whisky to Commemorate Air Force Helicopter Fleet

Oamaru, New Zealand – May 27, 2015 – For just over 49 years, the UH-1H Iroquois helicopter fleet has served the RNZAF, NZDF and New Zealand. On May 2015, a formal function will mark the retirement of the Iroquois (Huey) and bottles from the New Zealand Whisky Company will be auctioned to commemorate each helicopter.

“ We are thrilled to support the Air Force in support of their Missing Wingman Trust and the retirement of their Iroquois helicopter fleet. We have provided 16 bottles, one for each of their aircraft,” says Operations Manager, Grant Finn.

The UH-1H Irozuois (Huey) currently being operated by No.3 Squadron RNZAF are scheduled to retire this year, following operations in Singapore, East Timor and Antarctica. The fleet also responded to crises throughout the Pacific, SE Asia and on New Zealand soil, the Christchurch earthquake. Many have been saved courtesy of Huey’s search and rescue capability. Operations for counter terrorism and coast guard have also added to Huey’s mark in New Zealand’s history.

Finn will present 16 bottles of New Zealand whisky at the RNZAF Base Ohakea as part of a formal function on May 30. The bottles will be auctioned, each dedicated to a specific RNZAF Iroquois. It is expected bottles will be highly sought by those current and previous serving Commanding Officers of No.3 Squadron.

Proceeds of the auction will be donated in entirety to the Missing Wingman Trust, established to support families of those killed while serving in the RNZAF. The registered charity performs valuable work and it is hoped the auction will generate significant funds.

Each bottle is boxed and labeled with a bespoke design, showcasing the airport and its tail number. In addition, the recipient will find a personalised history of the aircraft enclosed including its introduction to service, hours flown and notable events in its service career.


The New Zealand Whisky Company is a success story that signals a revival of the whisky industry in New Zealand. The whisky was once distilled by Seagram’s in Dunedin before the distillery was sold to Fosters in 1997 as part of a global rationalisation.

Fosters mothballed the distillery and inexplicably closed it. But fortunately, more than 400 barrels of this whisky remained, and were bought by the New Zealand Whisky Company, set aside to mature and sweeten. Since then, the company has worked hard to revive the century-old industry and the whisky has been met with wide acclaim.

In London during 2013, the New Zealand Whisky Collection’s DoubleWood won the category for Best Australasian Blend, while the South Island Single Malt was voted the best aged Single Malt from Down Under.

The Company has also been awarded ‘liquid gold status’ by the man believed to have visited more distilleries than anyone on earth. Jim Murray placed the South Island Single Malt 21 y.o. in the top percentile of some 4,500 whiskies worldwide in his 2014 Whisky Bible, the first time a NZ whisky has reached such status.

As well as regaining the foothold once held across New Zealand by Wilsons, the whisky is now exported from Oamaru and available across Canada, the UK, Australia and Europe.

Images are available at More information about the New Zealand Whisky Company is available at Reply via email for interview with CEO Greg Ramsay or contact direct on +61 409 595 702.

More information about the Missing Wingman Trust can be found here:

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