Thursday, 15 October 2015

Aeroplane Travel 1960s Style


Rotorua Airport 

Officially opened by The Rt Hon Keith Holyoake on Saturday 3rd October 1964. 

Rotorua Photo News 24/10/1964 p7
Festivities on the day included over 100 aircraft from a 'Friendship' to a 'Tiger Moth' converging on the airfield, sightseeing trips took 100s of trippers round the lakes, Aerobatics, gliding, topdressing, supply dropping and parachute skydiving. The Prime Minister's arrival coincided with an artillery demonstration by the Australians, their blank shots making a fitting salute.  The day was organised and run by the Rotorua Aero Club and local Jaycees. (Source : Rotorua Photo News October 24th, 1964)     


Rotorua Photo News 24 October 1964, pg 8.



In March of 2014 Rotorua celebrated with the Airport on it's 50th Anniversary 

Excerpt from the Daily Post, Saturday 29th March 2014 : "Retired Rotorua electrician Maurie Street recently dropped off the official programme of events from the big day to the Rotorua Daily Post, which included messages from then Prime Minister Keith Holyoake, Rotorua Mayor Murray Linton and Rotorua County Council chairman Neil Hunt.

  • The programme states the original cost for the airport and new terminal was 350,000 (approximately $12.5 million).
  • The terminal itself cost 30,000 and was wired up by Mr Street and his team of electricians.
  • Work began on the new 4500ft (1371m) runway set on 143 acres (58ha) on land bought from Te Arawa hapu Ngati Uenukukopako.

On November 12, 1962, machinery began to crush scrub and Waikato Earthmovers Ltd began to fell trees which dotted the area. A few problems caused by bad weather, hidden underground springs and a layer of hard rock delayed construction, but by March 1963 a workforce of 24 men driving seven bulldozers, five large scrapers, three water carts and six heavy rollers were preparing the site for the new sealed runway.
Lots of local firms were involved in the construction, including MJ Street Electricians, GN Dodds painters, Larkin Bros construction, Walsh and Cox roofers, H Allen Mills engineering contractors and Lee Brothers joinery."

This image was published in a booklet by the Photographer D. Therkleson "A scenic Souvenir of your Rotorua holiday" c1960s

The above sources can be viewed at the Library on the 2nd Floor and you can read the Daily Post coverage and see the photos online. 

"I still remember my very first Aeroplane flight at age 5 or 6, it was an NAC plane from Gisborne to Napier" Blog Author, Alison Leigh.