Details of Sighting

Date 5th May 1957 Time 4:30PM Place Cape Colville

Date 5th May 1957 Time 4:30PM Place Cape Colville

Date 5th May 1957 Time 4:30PM Place Cape Colville

Its flight was so rapid that by comparison, a jet plane would appear ridiculously slow


Report of an object observed off Cape Colville, New Zealand

May 5th, 1957.

On May 5th, 1957, at approximately 4:30PM in the early evening, I was navigating the Rosa, a fishing boat, off Port Charles on the Coromandel coast. I hold a third engineer’s ticket, and was taking the Rosa from the port of Tauranga to Auckland, where it was to be delivered to its owner. I was approaching Channel Island which is several miles offshore and off Cape Colville, when I noticed an irregular smoke trail which seemed to rise from behind the island. This smoke trial twisted in an erratic way across the sky in a westerly direction. As I came abreast of an cleared Channel Island I saw the smoke trails were not from a fire on the island as I had at first imagined, but were out over the Hauraki Gulf. Actually, I had thought the smoke patterns in the sky looked a bit unusual, but hadn’t thought much about it.

Watching this maze of smoke trails in the sky, I saw a new trail being formed, and my eye followed the movement until I came to the source of the smoke. I saw an oval, disc-shaped object from which the smoke or fumes were streaming. At first I could not believe what I was seeing, and felt that something might have gone wrong with my eyes. Feeling very disturbed I left the wheel and walked around the Rosa, looking at various items of gear on the deck. Everything was all right and I felt more sure of myself. I was alone on the boat, unfortunately.

I went forward again, and watched the thing in the sky. The object was a fairly narrow oval seen travelling horizontally, and both upper and lower surfaces were similarly curved. Two shallow convex surfaces fitted together face to face would be roughly similar to its appearances. Smoke streamed away from its sides as it moved on an irregular, constantly changing course through the sky. The sun was setting, half its disc being beneath the horizon. Looking across about 25 miles of water the horizon in this case was the sea.

As I watched, the object approached me at a slight angle, bearing to the left. It then tilted at a steep angle and shooting upwards, showed its circular shape clearly. The object was well about the glare of the sun, and my view of it was not affected by dazzle. It appeared as big as a florin held at arm’s length. The rapid manoeuvres it made covered an arc of about 15 degrees. The thing turned through every possible angle during these manoeuvres, and for a period of at least twenty minutes I watched these movements, while I steered the Rosa out towards the Hauraki Gulf.

These peculiar and rapid gyrations were confined to an area approximately equal to two feet in diameter at arm’s length, and covered as described above, an angle of about 15 degrees vertically. The late afternoon was very calm, and there was no wind. The lower sky was quite clear of cloud, but there were streaks of cirrus at a high altitude, almost overhead. The object was moving in an area of sky above the setting sun and its glare, but below these high clouds. I was thus able to see it very clearly.

Not knowing the actual size of the objects makes it hard for me to say how far away it was. I believe though that the object was some miles distant. The object was very clearly defined. Smoke poured out from its curving sides, narrowed immediately behind, then broadened out into a widening but thinning wake astern. The smoke was a dark greyish colour and the trails remained in the sky for at least ten minutes before vanishing. The area of sky in which the object was moving was thus heavily patterned with these trails, some firm and clear, others fading. The calm air helped to keep the trails from blowing away.

The object appeared greyish – a dark grey or neutral shade, and did not reflect. Had the object been made of polished aluminium, say, it would not have reflected light, the sun being beneath and to the left of it. The object was thus north-west of the setting sun. Had it been an aircraft it would not have reflected light from this position in the sky, and would possibly have been a similar dark colour.

It gave me the unmistakable impression that it was some form of controlled flying machine, but its flight was so rapid that by comparison, a jet plane would appear ridiculously slow. I want to make that clear. The thing was being flown, or directed. Somebody was flying it.

I must also stress that I saw this object in clear daylight, and as it made so many movements in the sky, plunging, heeling over, ascending swiftly and turning through every imaginable angle in its flight, I was able to get an unmistakable impression of its shape. It was a huge disc. Its rapid movements suggested tremendous power moving in horizontal flight it appeared to cover a distance of miles in as many seconds.

I consider that it was a very large object, and may have been several hundred feet in diameter. It was as large, I thought, as a big Pan American airliner. I make this statement having seen Pan American airliners at what I believe to be approximately the same distance. I must say again most decidedly that what I saw that afternoon was some form of flying machine. I do not know of any aircraft which can move with such amazing speed. All turns made by the object were curving, as illustrated in the rough sketch, which is of course merely a simplified picture of the complicated movements it made.

Just before flying off it levelled out, and then moved away very rapidly in horizontal flight, passing over the mainland in the direction of Warkworth and Cape Rodney, in the upper Hauraki Gulf. The tangle of smoke trails remained for some time, and slowly faded out in the evening sky. During all these rapid manoeuvres I heard no sound. However, the noise my boat engine was making may have muffled out any other sound. While I was watching the object diving and wheeling in the sky the sun went down beneath the horizon. It was daylight though when the object suddenly flew off over the mainland.

A navy patrol boat followed me up the Coromandel coastI saw this boat tied up at the Whitianga Wharf, in Mercury Bay. Leaving some time after I sailed from Whitianga, this boat overtook me just after dark, hailing me as it passed. I’d had engine trouble earlier in my trip, and they wanted to know if I was all right. I have wondered since if the crew also saw the object, or if they were too far astern during daylight to have noticed anything.

The object was well out over the Hauraki Gulf when it performed its unusual manoeuvres. When I arrived in Auckland I mentioned what I had seen to the owner of the Rosa, who was sceptical. Apart from telling my wife and members of my family what I saw, I have not spoken about the episode until persuaded to make this report by a friend, who heard of my experience from my brother. I watched the newspapers for some days after delivering the Rosa, expecting to hear reports of the object passing over the country districts north of Auckland city, but nothing appeared.

I am a licensed skipper of the Tauranga Big Game Fishing Club, and am also a builder. I have lived at Mount Maunganui for slightly over twenty years, and have been out in coastal waters a lot during that time, but have never before seen anything even remotely similar to the object described in this account. The description given is as accurate as I can make it. I feel that what I saw is important enough to justify study, and hope that this report, fantastic as it may appear, will be given serious consideration.

July 21st 1957.


I have known Redacted Name since 1946, and can testify that he is a most reliable person. He has previously been very sceptical about reports of unidentified flying objects. Now however he is most assured about what he has seen and feels that it is not a matter for argument.

Redacted Name has been a very successful skipper in the Tauranga Big Game Fishing Club fleet, and the boat piloted by him during the 1957 season caught the highest tally of striped marlin.

Knowing his practical attitude and steadiness, I am prepared to accept the accuracy of his report, and with him, hope that this description of a strange flying object will be given serious consideration. I would like to add again that Redacted Name is very emphatic that it was a controlled objecta flying machine with remarkable capabilities.

Mount Maunganui
July 21st 1957.

Report taken from file number
AIR 39/3/3 Volume 2Parts 1 and 2