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Warbirds Over Wanaka Chairman Retires

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Retiring Warbirds Over Wanaka Community Trust Chairman John Gilks is thrilled to have been in the role for the event’s most successful airshow in its 36-year history.

The 2024 airshow saw the Saturday and Sunday both sold out and a record crowd for the practice day on the Friday. There were also an estimated 8,000 people attend the free community airshow at the lakefront on Good Friday.

John says after having led the organisation for the past ten years it was hugely satisfying to be able to put on such an amazing event this Easter, especially given the last two airshows had to be cancelled because of Covid.

“Leading into this airshow I was confident there was a lot of pent-up demand but with any major outdoor event there are still a number of things that can go wrong at the last minute. But everything came together so well for this year’s airshow – an amazing line-up of aircraft, record crowds and perfect weather.”

John says the final financial situation won’t be known until the end of the organisation’s financial year in September, however it’s looking likely Warbirds’ will be in a strong position to put on another stunning airshow at Easter 2026 and beyond.

“It’s a great position to be in but it would not have been possible without the help of the many funding organisations, sponsors and individuals who supported us during the past six years. Without that funding Warbirds would not have survived. We hope we were able to repay that support by staging the most successful airshow in the event’s history,” says John.

Replacing John as Chairman is Paul Moodie of Wanaka. The 2024 airshow was Paul’s first as a member of the board and he says his vision for the future is pretty simple.

“Warbirds needs to continue to deliver a top-class international event which delivers significant, positive benefits for our community,” says Paul.

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