Kaikoura butcher Alan Hickey (AJ) remembers the mysterious lights that had the nation in a buzz back in 1978 well.
"It was a light flashing across the sky, a bit like a shooting star but much more regular," he said last week.
The lights were seen by other residents during that time, too, and on December 21, 1978, both a Wellington radar team and crew of an Argosy cargo plane reported strange lights and inexplicable radar readings in the Clarence area, near Kaikoura.
Reports of sightings of UFOs reached the media and a full scale investigation by the air force was launched.
Mr Hickey, a top level Marlborough senior rugby referee back then, spent many hours driving back and forth between Blenheim and Kaikoura attending referee meetings and saw the lights before they were reported in the media.
"It made me laugh [when it was reported]. I thought, ah, it's those squid boats.
"I saw lights on the horizon but I don't believe they were UFOs, it was squid boats.
"There was lots of squid boats around, the way they were moving on the horizon."
A report released by the air force after their investigation agrees that the most likely cause of the lights were from a Japanese fleet of squid boats.
Now 30 years on official NZ defence force papers reveals the truth of the matter.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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