Ohakea Air Movements Terminal

As part of a $130 million upgrade, Ohakea air base has a new Air Movements Terminal

that will allow the New Zealand Defence force to deploy personnel more efficiently

and respond more rapidly to emergencies.

As part of Project Takitini to modernise Base Ohakea, $12.6 million was spent on the 

5800sq m Air Movements Terminal, which includes a check-in area, baggage carousels, processing areas, freight handling and conference facilities as well as site preparation and exterior works.

Because of its upgrade and central location, Base Ohakea will become a major hub for the armed forces allowing them to assemble and deploy on major activities more easily. Outside, the terminal has also been upgraded with a larger "hard standing" area to accommodate larger aircraft.

The terminal can process up to 250 domestic and international passengers at a time, and has been purpose-built to meet the requirements of Customs, Ministry for Primary Industries, and Immigration.

Chief of Air Force Air Vice-Marshal (AVM) Mike Yardley says, "Over the last few years the RNZAF and the Defence Force have seen the benefit of the introduction of new state of the art aircraft, and world class facilities.

“At Ohakea this new terminal joins our award winning maintenance and training facilities that support our new NH90 and A109 helicopter fleets."

The building has taken 12 months to construct and has been designed so that it can operate in eight different modes – by opening or closing off the primary spaces - depending what is required of it at any given time. It also has a secure military communication system.

"The new air terminal will increase NZDF’s agility and capability in deployment and exercise activities, as well as enhance our ability to respond in emergency and disaster situations," says AVM Yardley.

Part of the building has been equipped with infrastructure so it could be used as an operations room for other agencies to link into a network that has been created to cope with a natural disaster. The new facility employs about 18 staff.

Beca architect Jeff Armstrong led the design team that worked on the terminal, developing the brief provided by aviation consultants Airbiz. Beca also undertook civil, structural and services design.

A single-storey structure, it is divided into three main parts: a cargo bay, the arrivals/departure/customs spaces and a large multifunction space for presentations, social events, welcomes and farewells. Designed as a “sophisticated shed” the Air Movements Terminal will also offer greater comfort than its predecessor, a converted Lockwood building.

While the building is based on the form of a shed, the look has been softened by using a draped roof ridge profile and a glazed façade that is sloped and sheltered by a deep overhang. Inside, some of the ceilings boast curves that mimic an aerofoil profile.

Turfrey Ltd undertook the roofing and cladding of the building, and managing director Brad Turfrey says 54m lengths of COLORSTEEL® roofing were run on site and craned up, something he describes as an “interesting task”.

He says cladding the building in Roofing Industries Eurostyle “required a lot of skill and precision” but the barcode aesthetic looked impressive once finished.  

Interior layouts, finishes, fitout and construction monitoring was done by Architype Shadbolt Architects Ltd.

Darren Shadbolt says, “The exterior of the building is influenced by aeronautical forms, materials and notions of flight. These design drivers are carried through to the internal spaces. Interior layout uses a variety of finishes through the fitout to define the functions for each space and the circulation routes using colour, material, finish, graphics and pattern.”

He adds, “The building changes as the function changes; it’s quite a clever building like that.”

The most striking aspect is the sloped, glazed facade at the terminal’s roadside frontage. This facade, which was glazed over 47m in the APL 168mm Structural Glaze System, was a tough job to tackle for Altherm Window Systems, Palmerston North. The sloped façade leans on a steel frame at the top, with each double-glazed panel 5m high by 1.85m wide and weighing 790kg. 

Another custom-made feature is the secondary glazing system in the passenger lounge facing the tarmac. To provide soundproofing from aircraft outside, a 135mm Flushglaze system in double glazed format was used in combination with an extra 10.3mm laminate window installed in a U-channel behind with a 100mm air gap.


One of the largest employee-owned professional services consultancies in the Asia Pacific, Beca was established in New Zealand in 1918 with only three employees. Beca now has nearly 3000 employees in 17 offices around the world. Beca delivers a variety of consultancy services - engineering, architecture, planning, project and cost management, software technology and valuations – for projects across sectors including power, water, transport, industry, government buildings and construction. 

Architype Shadbolt Architects Ltd

A design-led practice, Architype Shadbolt Architects beileves in “fully investigated design” to deliver successful architecture. A team approach is used, combining the enthusiasm and vision of the client with the skills, experience and design knowledge of architects to produce “architecture meeting the most demanding briefs while maintaining the important aspects of quality, timeliness and economy”.

“Most importantly, we consider architecture is more than bricks and mortar - it is the experience of space and volume, colour and texture, form and function.”

Architect: Beca


Telephone: 09 300 900


Construction Management and interior design

Architype Shadbolt Architects

Palmerston North

Telephone: 06 355 5599


Cladding Manufacturer: 

Roofing Industries Palmerston North 

Telephone: 06 353 8480


Colorcote ®ZRX™

Profile: Eurostyle ™

Colour: Grey Friars 


Roofing and cladding installer: 

Turfrey Ltd, 

Telephone:  0800 182 182

Building Contractor: 

Ebert Construction 

Telephone: 04 587 0000


Kevin Hawkins Photography

Telephone: 0212668960