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UFOs in the daily Press:

The "mysterious airship" wave in the New Zealand Press, 1909:

The article below was published in the daily newspaper North Otago Times, New Zeland, page 2, on August 4, 1909.

See the Oamaru sighting case file here.


The scepticism that exists regarding the mysterious lights and the phenomenon of a large body rapidly passing across the vision of those fortunate to see it is still largely impenetrable. That may be assumed to be the failing of those who will not receive the truth. With Bret Harte's Bill Nye they ask "is visions about ?" and if they are there is something of solid substance about them. For instance, at 3 o'clock on Monday morning, Mr. Thomas Robertson, a baker in the employ of Mr Irvine, saw plainly a large boat-shaped body passing over the north end of Oamaru, a short distance this side of Sumpter's Hill. The moon was to the westward, and it threw the airship into bold relief, Mr Robertson assures us he was "not mistaken, that the object was plainly visible to him as the hill itself. There were three lights on the airship, a large bright one in front, and smaller ones in the middle and at the rear. This airship was moving rapidly, and he watched it till it disappeared over the hills by Weston. He also saw silhouetted against the brightness beyond what he took to be two figures in the structure. These, however, he says, may have been parts of the airship, but to him they appeared to be men. We may mention that Mr Robertson saw similar lights passing over to the seaward side of the town some weeks before, but said, little about them at the time, as no airship was visible to him. His positive assertion may not set all doubts at rest, but we give his statement as tangible evidence of the existence of something more than a kite with a Chinese lantern hanging to its tail or a fire-balloon. It was not even luminous cosmic dust nor a jack-o'-lantern, but as he says a real veritable airship, and this he is prepared to affirm.

Per Press Association.

Wellington, August 3.

Mr Geo. Mitchell, a resident of Wellington, reports having seen, from Island Bay, at 9.30 to-night, what appeared like a large are light out to sea, which traveled out of sight. The light was far too high to be mistaken for the light on a ship's mast. Another person makes an independent report that he saw a light in the same direction at the same time, and says there appeared to be an opaque body above it. As nearly as could be estimated the light was a quarter of a mile from the shore.

Nelson, August 3.

Mars, in conjunction with the prevailing "airship fever," was responsible for a good deal of excitement at Nelson last night. Mars is now approaching to its closest proximity to the earth and scintillated with unusual brilliance, giving some observers the impression that a phantom airship, reported from various parts of the Dominion, was contemplating a descent. The news was carried to the theatre where the Citizen's band bazaar was in progress, and the building rapidly emptied. This incident may possibly explain some reports where airships are deduced from the appearance of unusual lights.

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