An astronomer who worked at the Carter Observatory when the country's most famous UFO sighting occurred has dismissed it as a weather event.
The New Zealand Defence Force on Wednesday released about 2000 pages of reports from the past 60 years including witness accounts of sightings.
The most significant documentation is of the 1978 Kaikoura incident in which a television crew captured footage of a cluster of bright lights off the coast.
But Allan Gilmore, who was an astronomer at the Carter Observatory then, says the lights were the result of an unusual weather pattern which caused irregular radar reception and many mirage events.
Mr Gilmore has investigated many possible UFO sightings since and says none was credible.