Miniature Aircraft New Zealand (MANZ) was established in 1982 as Chapter 59 of the International Miniature Aircraft Association (IMAA) organization which was based in the USA. At the time, the IMAA was the world’s leading organization for large model aircraft enthusiasts. It had three main principles. One was that flying should be at a low-key friendly rallies with no competitive element a maximum of co-operation and fun. Another principle was that large model flying must be safe. The third principle was that the criteria for being “large” were based on dimensions – essentially the same ones that are still used today. These are: Wingspan of 2 meters for monoplanes and 1.5 metres for monoplanes. Additionally true quarter scale models and models where the sum of the wingspan and length is at least 3.5 metres are accepted to accommodate small prototypes and jets.
The late Chuck Holder had the original idea of forming an IMAA chapter. The founding members were Chuck Holder, Russ Johnson, Wayne Cartwright, Kevin Uncles, Ron Cavanagh and Royce Johnson. Russ Johnson was elected the first President, a position he held for 17 years. MANZ was registered as an Incorporated Society on 19 June 1995. The Palmerston north group managed MANZ for 17 years when the reins were taken over by a northern group. It is now managed by members in different regions including the South Island
Extract from Palmerston North Aeroneers newsletter
“M.A.N.Z 1st BIG FLY-IN TAONUI AIRFIELD. FEILDING. 21st &22nd MAY 1983
Chuck Holder, with the encouragement and backing of five other members of the P N Aeroneers applied to I.M.A.A to form a chapter, and in February 1982 we became “Miniature Aircraft New Zealand” ~ Chapter 59. In a report Chuck said “I must admit, at the outset I had some misgiving. Would there be a following for bigger Aircraft? Had I bitten off more than I could chew? There were mutterings in the background – too big, too heavy- potentially dangerous. My fears were allayed, M.A.N.Z 1st big –Fly-In is over and we now boast twenty fully paid up members at the last count and still growing.”
After many years the registration costs for IMAA outweighed benefits received and the “Chapter 59” was dropped. Sadly, in recent years the IMAA has ceased to exist.
An annual rally has been held in May combining the AGM. Initially at Taonui near Feilding and at Waharoa in latter years. Additional regional meetings are held during the year mostly in the North Island with the first South Island held in 2008.
Much of the success of MANZ has come from the sharing of ideas, and experiences, and enthusiasm about large model construction, flying, and power systems. In the early days, the Quadra 35cc petrol motor was thought to be huge, as were the Super Tigre 2000/2500/3000 series when they appeared soon after! Gradually, petrol motors predominated and the average sizes of motors and models at rallies has steadily increased. Turbines appeared for the first time in 2004, and big electric systems have started to arrive. The spirit of innovation and the sense of relaxation, fun and comradeship all remain strong in MANZ.
At the 2015 AGM rebranding was discussed and it was moved that the committee look into this further. Several options for the name and logo were put to the members and at the 2017 AGM a new title Large Model Aircraft New Zealand (LMANZ) and Logo were approved.
Approximately 6 rallies are held each year throughout New Zealand.