Jean Batten Artefacts Donated to MOTAT

New Zealand icon and pioneering aviator, Jean Batten holds a special place in the heart of MOTAT’s aviation collection, so it was with much excitement that the Museum recently accepted a generous donation of additional Jean Batten artefacts from Auckland Airport.

The exchange took place in the Walsh Memorial Library located in the lower level of what was originally known as the ‘Pioneers of Aviation’ building at MOTAT, a building officially opened by Jean Batten herself in 1977.

Auckland Airport’s general manager – people and safety, Anna Cassels-Brown, formally presented the artefacts to MOTAT chief executive, Michael Frawley. Amongst the donated items are Batten’s signature white leather flying cap, planisphere, stopwatch, photographs and the engine and flying log books from her Percival Gull aircraft.

“Very special” is how Library and Archives Manager, Philippa Robinson described the occasion. “The logbook recording her historic flight from England to New Zealand in 1936 is particularly significant. It’s a fantastic story to be able to tell and these items complement the museum’s existing collection of Jean Batten artefacts perfectly,” says Robinson.

“Auckland Airport is delighted to be able to gift these treasures of New Zealand aviation to MOTAT, where they can be enjoyed by everyone. MOTAT’s Jean Batten collection is the perfect home for these much-loved artefacts,” says Anna Cassels-Brown.

Famous for her fortitude, proficiency in navigation, and aviation accomplishments; Batten is celebrated as one of New Zealand’s most iconic figures in history, a symbol of bold determination and grit. She received many international awards and trophies including the Harmon Trophy and the Challenge Cup. Batten was also the first female to be awarded the prestigious Fédération Aéronautique Internationale.

The Jean Batten collection at MOTAT preserves an important narrative of New Zealand history and celebrates a local hero. Batten’s story of adventure, bravery and outstanding achievement is sure to inspire future generations of New Zealanders.  

“Every flyer who ventures across oceans to distant lands is a potential explorer: in his or her breast burns the same fire that urged the adventurers of old to set forth in their sailing-ships for foreign lands.” – Jean Batten. 

The Walsh Memorial Library, where many of these items are available to be viewed by the public on request, is a notable research resource. It is open weekdays at MOTAT from 10am to 4:30pm. Entry to the library is free, but research requests are advised.



Location: MOTAT – 805 Great North Road, Western Springs, Auckland

The Walsh Memorial Library Opening Hours: 10am to 4pm weekdays, please make a research appointment.


  • ‘Unknown photographer. (1930s). [Portrait of Jean Batten in flying gear]. Ref: PHO-0192-1.26. Jean Batten manuscript and photograph collection. Walsh Memorial Library, The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT)’

  • Auckland Airports Anna Cassels-Brown presents Jean Batten's logbook to MOTAT chief executive Michael Frawley

  • ‘Unknown photographer. (15 September 1935). [Jean Batten standing on the wing of Percival Gull G-ADPR at Gravesend Airport]. Ref: PHO-0192-1.28. Jean Batten manuscript and photograph collection. Walsh Memorial Library, The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT)’

For further information, photos, media passes or interviews, please contact:

Vanessa Hefer
Communications Advisor
Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT)
Phone: (09) 845 3703, Mobile: (021) 340 518