In 2018, the Government announced the purchase of four P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to replace the six P-3K2 Orion that had been operating since the 1960s. The new fleet is based at Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Base Ōhakea in the Manawatū region rather than at Whenuapai, where the Orion was stationed.

The P-8A is a variant of the Boeing 737-800ERX, and compared to the Orion, the Poseidon is a much larger aircraft powered by two turbofan jet engines rather than four turboprop engines.

Base Ōhakea is of strategic importance both regionally and nationally. It is one of three RNZAF bases and has the longest RNZAF runway and the third largest in New Zealand. Base Ōhakea is also a stand-by airfield in the event of commercial airfields being compromised – such as weather events. It has the necessary runway length to operate the P-8A.

Base Ōhakea is also home to the T-6C Texan II pilot training aircraft, King Air KA350 aircraft, which are used for pilot training and operational support and NH90 medium utility and A109 light utility helicopters.

Tonkin + Taylor has provided planning and acoustic support to NZDF at Base Ōhakea before the first P-8A landing at the airbase in December 2022.


  • Planning support
  • Acoustic support and noise contour analysis


  • New Zealand Defence Force


  • 2021-present

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