Thursday, February 2, 2012

Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, New Zealand

While travelling around New Zealand I flipped through the Lonely Planet book for things to see and do I came across this Museum of World War I aircraft. The book actually said something like it is the highlight of Blenheim. A town in the middle of a big wine producing region. I really could not give a flying hoot for wines and wineries so for me it was probably the only thing to do in that town. We were travelling north from Kaikoura after doing an incredible Whale Watch tour on our way to Picton to get the Ferry to the North Island and it was easy enough to find.
In a word the Museum is INCREDIBLE! So unique and special. What is it? A collection of World War I planes like you have never seen before in your life and also lots and lots and lots of glass cabinet associated items. Some of the planes are reproductions and some are originals. The collection is from Peter Jackson. Yep, director of ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Bad Taste’.  He has been collecting WWI stuff since he was young. I have seen a real cool film that Peter Jackson created for the Canberra War Memorial Museum here in Australia (and that is a must go and see if you are ever in this nations capital) but at Omaka, Weta Workshop has deployed it’s incredible talent and craft as well. The planes have pilots. Many are set in context and in a scenario. As an example one plane has the pilot standing on the wing balancing his damaged plane to the ground over mud and trench terrain. The Red Barons plane is being looted after it has crashed landed.
Out the front was these two planes. I think they are recreations for the ‘Battle of Britain’ movie.

So very, very life like.

Lets get some momentos.
 Scale model next to the real sized plane.
 Couldn't stop from looking at this plane. So bird like looking, so different from how we visualise a plane these days.
Just a fraction of what you can see at the incredible Museum. Oh by the way, lots of the planes at the Museum actually fly! Incredible.
Cheers The Kiwi


  1. It's been years since I was up that way. Clearly it is time to go again. Thanks for this.

  2. Your welcome Rodger. It honestly blew me away with what it had. Well worth a look.