A 1940 Hawker Hurricane MkIIA fighter plane which flew in the Battle of Britain and was restored in New Zealand, is to be auctioned in Melbourne this weekend.

The rare fabric-covered fighter is expected to fetch up to $A4 million ($NZ4.89m).

The Hurricane, to be sold by auction house Bonhams & Goodman on Sunday, is one of only 11 Hurricanes still in flying condition.

New Zealand aviation enthusiast Sir Tim Wallis bought the wreck of the plane in 1991, after it had been recovered from near Murmansk in Russia.

The Hurricane was rebuilt by engineers from Air New Zealand and Hawker Restorations, set up by Sir Tim, with more restoration done in Christchurch after it was sent there in late 1995.

The restored plane flew again in January 2000 and was put on display at the New Zealand Fighter Pilots Museum at Wanaka, in Central Otago.

But it was sent to Australia for sale by its owner, the Wallis family's Alpine Deer Group,

It owned a range of vintage planes which made up the Alpine Fighter Collection, but the collection has been progressively sold off since Sir Tim suffered severe head injuries in 1996.

The Hurricane survived four major battle campaigns during the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain.

It was damaged and repaired several times before being struck by a shell in the winter of 1943 over the Murmansk area.

Air New Zealand engineering staff, trainees, and volunteers spent three years making parts for the re-build, which took six years.

The aircraft has been painted in the colours of the Royal Air Force Number 73 Squadron.

The auctioneers said they had been flooded with inquiries from "war-bird" collectors and fliers from Australia, Britain, the US and Canada.

From todays paper - my son in law worked on this aircraft for 3 years - he is sad that it has left these shores.

Dyan