Wellington (NZ) Int'l Airport Runway Markings

I first saw this article: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/wellington-airport-runway
which intrigued me enough to go look at Google Maps to see the airport in question. I’ve done a bit of an exploration to try and understand the non-standard markings that are used on the runway. Take a look on Google Maps. There are markings (perhaps concrete rather than white paint) at both ends of the runway perpendicular to the centerline. My first thought is they are for some type of arresting system, but being as this is a civilian field, I doubt that is the case.
I apologize if there’s an obvious answer. I’ve never encountered it in the runways I’ve landed at here in the midwest (US).


There are a number of strange markings shown on Google Earth and Maps (GE says data is 2009), that I’ve not seen before on any runway. Markings for some sort of trials maybe?
The article in Atlsaobscura is poorly written, while a runway of at least 6000’ isn’t very long, it certainly isn’t minute.

As taken from Wikipedia …

Because of the runway limitations, Qantas purchased two short-bodied “Special Performance” 747SP for flights between Wellington and Australia during the first half of the 1980s. Air New Zealand operated DC-8s from Wellington on trans-Tasman routes, but when the planes were retired in 1981 none of its other planes were capable of operating international flights from Wellington – Air New Zealand’s DC-10s required more runway length than Wellington had available, and twinjet planes were not yet ETOPS-certified. The 747SP addressed this gap in the market, with Air New Zealand (after turning down an offer to purchase the type) code-sharing with Qantas. Special markings on the runway assisted Qantas pilots where to touch down and to abort and go round to attempt a landing again. The SP service to Wellington continued until 1985 when Qantas and later Air New Zealand took delivery of the more capable and economical Boeing 767-200ER type.

Must be some other reason for the current paint markings, as they look quite fresh and I can’t imagine that they date back to per-1985.

B777’s still use this strip, maybe those markings are still used for the same purpose? I have no idea, but found the info on Wiki interesting. Mayby they upkeep the marking purely for “legacy”.

It’s for ET aliens landings :grin:

Interesting to look at the historical imagery on Google Earth. The markings move around a bit.

Hi Roger, just spotted your post from 2018. You’ve likely found the answer in the interim - but if not; I think you’re referring to the Touchdown Zone Limit Markings.

They’d been used awhile back at Wellington (NZWN), but returned a few years ago prior to Singapore Airlines operating a 777 then A350 there. I take A320 and 321’s in, and it’s our company policy to treat them as limiting also. We would otherwise be limited to touching down in the first 1/3 of the runway (to a maximum of 900m on long runways), but at 550m the touchdown zone limit marks are pretty close to one third of 1815m LDA anyway and are nice big visual aids. Queenstown (NZQN) also has them at 550m (LDA there is 1777m) - and green lights adjacent for night use.