AERODROME ROAD, BLENHEIM (5kms from town, route sign-posted off SH6) MARLBOROUGH • NEW ZEALAND
Located at Marlborough's historically significant Omaka Aerodrome, the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre was established to provide a world-class destination for the appreciation of historic aircraft.
For the opening exhibition in Stage One of Omaka, New Zealand's most respected cinematic and special effects craftsmen have created a dramatic aviation theatre in which original and full-scale replica WW1 aircraft - both static and flyable - are presented in all their glory.
The Opening Exhibition: Knights of The Sky
Omaka's first exhibition, “Knights of the Sky”, occupies some 3,000 sqm of purpose-built display area. It comprises one of the world's largest collections of World War 1 aircraft and rare memorabilia, including a mix of dramatically staged static displays along with flyable planes.
The collection is managed by the 14-18 Aviation Heritage Trust, which is chaired by film director Peter Jackson, and has been brought to life in a series of theatrical dioramas constructed with the artistic talent and technical expertise of some of New Zealand's most talented storytellers.
The extensive dioramas take you back to a time long gone and almost forgotten when the harshness and cruelty of the war in the trenches contrasted with the chivalry and bravado of the war in the air. When SE5as and Fokker Triplanes went head to head; the steeds of these latter day knights of the air jousting for survival.
This spectacular multi-sensory experience, enhanced with special effects lighting is designed to be both educational and entertaining for all ages.
A Dream Takes Flight - The Development of The Omaka AHC
The Aviation Heritage Centre was born of a love of aviation, an appreciation of its role in history and recognition of its value to our future.
It began with a resurgence of heritage aviation interest in Marlborough in the late 1990's when a group of enthusiasts imported two Chinese Nanchang trainers and established the Marlborough Warbirds Association as a way to foster interest and provide a social network of support.
The sound of the Nanchang's radial engines was heard over Blenheim drawing curious spectators and, increasingly, other heritage aircraft. As word of the growing range and rarity of aircraft stored at Omaka spread, tourists also began knocking on the hangar doors.
At this point, in 1997, a small group of aircraft owners and enthusiasts got together to discuss the means by which these aircraft could be made accessible to the public on a more practical and sustainable basis, and grow the public understanding and appreciation of aviation. It culminated in the formation of the New Zealand Aviation Museum Trust. Their vision was that this facility should be a hub; a focal point of activity reaching not only aviation but also tourism, education and industry to the benefit of the Marlborough community, New Zealand and aviation enthusiasts throughout the world.
That vision has taken shape as a permanent “living” centre of aviation heritage designed to fascinate, educate and inspire visitors of all ages, while forming the nucleus for a broader centre of aviation excellence including: aircraft restoration/painting/upholstery, vintage/warbird experience flights - even whole aircraft manufacture.
Key to the development has been the establishment of the Marlborough Aviation Cluster. This initiative has received strong support from the Marlborough District Council and Marlborough Regional Development Trust, both of whom recognised aviation as a key driver in Marlborough's economy and successfully applied to NZ Trade and Enterprise for a Major Regional Initiative grant to build Stage One of the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre.
|Copyright © 2013 New Zealand Aviation Museum Trust|