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Most Important Air Show In NZ History

Media Release – March 25
Most Important Air Show In NZ History


The Richard Pearse centenary pageant in Timaru this weekend is one of the most important air shows in New Zealand’s history, organisers said today.

Three days of celebrations start in Timaru on Saturday and include a display of replicas of Pearse’s plane which took off in a paddock at Waitohi near Timaru 100 years ago.

Pearse may have been the first person in the world to achieve powered take off before his bamboo-framed home-built aircraft plunged into a gorse hedge.

Celebrations at Waitohi on March 31 are believed to be 100 years to the day that Pearse arguably became the first man to fly an aircraft --- nine months before the Wright brothers flew Kittyhawk in the United States.

Central South Island Tourism spokesman Philip Brownie said the pageant was a landmark day in New Zealand history.

``This is one of the most significant air shows ever held in New Zealand,’’ he said.

``The results of years of effort by aviation enthusiasts to mark this very special occasion will be witnessed this weekend.’’

Auckland aviation history Rev Richard Waugh said Pearse was mostly unknown in the international aviation fraternity.

``But I think these special celebrations will help to place his achievements before a much wider audience.

``Aspects of his aeroplane design were ingenious and were later adopted as basic aircraft design. He rightfully deserves the accolades on this 100 year anniversary.’’

As well as Pearse replica planes and replica engines on show, dozens of aircraft will be seen in the skies above Timaru this weekend including a re-enactment of the first airline service flight to Timaru 50 years ago.

The De Havilland Dominies re-enactment marks the halfway point from Richard Pearse to the modern era.

The Dominies pioneered many air routes in New Zealand from the 1930s until the early 1950s including the first airliner type to serve Wellington and Nelson.

The Dominie to be used for the re-enactment will be flown by veteran pilot Jules Tapper and the plane have been flying since RNZAF service in 1943. It is still used for charter service in Gore and Queenstown areas.

Meanwhile, an attempt on a world steam threshing record will be held this weekend in conjunction with the pageant.

The South Canterbury Traction Engine Club will try and create a world record by having 13 threshing mills driven by 13 traction engines threshing sheaves of oats at the same time.

This year is the centenary of threshing in the region for legendary threshing and hauling contractor Bill Clarke. The threshers were used for thrashing grain.

The centenary event will also include a comprehensive display of military vehicles, guns and equipment from the World War 2 era provided by the New Zealand Warhorse Association.

Ends

Media advisory: For further information contact Kip Brook, Word of Mouth Media, 03 374 5426 or 021 033 8455 or Philip Brownie at Central South Island Tourism on 03 6886163


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