TIMARU and the South Canterbury
- The exploits of inventor and aviator Richard Pearse are now
more well known. Aside from achieving a mechanical takeoff flight prior to the Wright
brothers, his concepts and inventions are still being used in modern aircarft.
- In 1914 Will Scotland made the longest flight in NZ when he
took off from Fraser Park (Timaru) on a flight to Christchurch.
- The first airmail delivery in NZ was made on Scotland's
flight when a parcel was dropped at Temuka.
- A South Canterbury man was among the first group of pilots
to graduate from the Wigram based flying school (Christchurch field now the RNZAF Museum)
- later to fly with the Royal Flying Corps in WW1.
- Pioneer passenger and freight services were operated between
Timaru and Christchurch by the Christchurch Aviation Company from their base at
- An aircraft of the Canterbury Aviation Company was the first
to survey the route between Invercargill and Auckland. On this flight two passengers were
- South Canterbury men were amongst the first to construct and
fly a primary glider in the area.
- The first successful flight over Mt Cook took off from and
landed back at Washdyke airfield.
- A Timaru man was one of the pioneers of commercial
helicopter operations in New Zealand.
- This same person was the first New Zealand pilot to undergo
conversion to helicopters at a training school in the USA.
- Local firms undertook pioneering development work in
controlling pests by aerial poisoning and top dressing air.
- Harry Wrigley, a noted local pilot, developed a set of skis
for his Auster, which enabled him to take off from a hard surface and land on snow, then
return. The 'ski-plane' was born!
- Local pilots and engineers were amongst the first in NZ to
construct and fly 'Gyrocopters'.
- One of the Empire's most highly decorated and respected
airmen, Lord Sam Elworthy, Marshal of the RAF was a South Canterbury man.
- All the above have been achieved in an area which is
primarily rural with a low population density.
Jack Lovelock Oak.
The New Zealand runner, Jack Lovelock won the gold at the
Berlin Olympics in 1936 and as was the custom at this particular Olympic Games Gold Medal
winners were presented with an Oak Tree seedling by none other than Adolf Hitler himself.
Recently a historian researched this event and discovered the known
whereabouts of seven of these seedling presentations and one was in the grounds of Timaru
Boys High School Jack Lovelocks old school. It flourishes to this day as a mature
The entry city is Christchurch, although if you
wish to tour prior to the event you can arrive into New Zealand at another city and then
depart from Christchurch. Christchurch is home to the fabulous RNZAF museum at the old
Wigram Air Force base and this should not be missed. In addition, for those who wish to
explore more venues of a mechanical nature Christchurch also has the Ferrymead