Following the New Zealand government's decision of 1984 (the Durban conference) to not procure anymore of what it considered to be "combat aircraft" it purchased from the Soviet Union a number of transport aircraft and also some Beriev Be12 patrol aircraft.
Originally delivered to the RNZAF in late 1984 and called at that time the Gull, it soon found itself with a new name...Tarunga, after New Zealand's biggest port and one of the seaplane bases from which the aircraft flew.
The RNZAF wanted longer range and so the Tarunga was outfitted with long range fuel tanks under both wings and in the MR.3ER (for Extended Range) oversize tanks fitted wich made amphibious landings dangerous unless in an emergency, but increased the patrol range considerably.
The aircraft modelled is one of the 4 such aircraft which accompanied the New Zealand relief expedition to the UK in 1992 and helped to secure the Princess Royal as regent to the Kingdom. It now resides in The 91 Disaster museum in Colchester.