(ORDO NEWS) — More than forty years have passed since the sighting of an unidentified flying object (UFO) that drew international attention to Kaikoura, but those who witnessed strange phenomena still cannot understand what they saw.
Three bright lights appeared in the sky over Kaikoura in December 1978, to the bewilderment of those who witnessed them, including air traffic controllers John Cordy and Andy Hurd.
It was even caught on camera by an Australian film crew who were in the area trying to capture them on film.
Journalist Quentin Fogarty said they were mesmerized by the mysterious lights, some of which were the size of a house.
“We saw a string of lights, it started as a small dot of light, then grew into a large pulsating ball with shades of orange and red,” he said.
“I sat there spellbound – after we were told it was the size of a house.”
The objects even appeared on the radar, further confusing the air transport staff.
Muldoon’s government said it was squid boats, moonlight reflecting off cabbages, or Venus rising – but those who were there aren’t sure.
“Come on, radar signals from a field of cabbages? Squid boats reaching 180 knots at 14,000 feet?” said Mr Cordy.
Even Mr. Heard, a skeptic, according to his son, thought that flashing lights were not normal.
“My father was a very sensible man,” said Daniel Hurd. “He would have gone through a lot to believe it was something as unusual as he thought.”
The mystery is further complicated by the fact that six years earlier, in 1972, other UFOs were seen, and an American scientist who studied the lights admitted that he believed that this was not a hoax … or explained as squid boats.
Declassified government documents show officials struggled to disprove TV1 footage of UFO sightings with Kaikoura lights in December 1978.
In a report submitted to the UN in January 1979, the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) classified these objects as “UFOs”.
This document is one of a large group of declassified documents on “Unidentified Flying Objects” in the New Zealand Archives that came from New Zealand’s work at the UN between 1977 and 1982.
Other documents show lobbying by New Zealand from Grenada, which wanted the United Nations to “initiate, conduct and coordinate research into the nature and origin of unidentified flying objects and related phenomena.”
New Zealand chaired the Western European and Other States Group in November 1978 when Grenada wanted to put forward its proposal and was not too pleased with the proposal.
“We are disappointed with the resolution of Granada and hope that this issue can be resolved without a vote,” one of the documents says.
“If the issue is put to a vote, we will be inclined to vote against it.”
Another document states: “A number of countries that are members of the Outer Space Committee (in particular, Austria) were unhappy with this proposal. They believe that this would undermine the authority of the Committee and divert resources from more important work.”
The New Zealand Foreign Office said it shared the committee’s views.
“This issue is not suitable for discussion in the context of the United Nations. Therefore, we hope that this issue will be resolved without a vote. If the issue is put to a vote, a vote against is appropriate, although the delegation has the right to abstain in the company concerned.”
Grenada ultimately refused to establish a UFO investigation unit at the UN at the urging of the United Kingdom.
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