Specialists in research and writing about early New Zealand airlines.


The Story of Nelson Aviation

by Richard Waugh & Graeme McConnell


Aviation’s influence on Nelson has been profound. With challenging road access, no rail link and the barrier of Cook Strait, Nelson had a reputation as a ‘sleepy hollow’. It was isolated and in some ways still is, yet has never been the same since the first aircraft visit in 1921.

After aero club beginnings, a pioneering scheduled airline was established at Stoke in 1935. The opening of Nelson’s new airport at Tahunanui in 1938, close to the city centre, was a key milestone for the region’s social, economic and tourism future. The airport led to a wartime air force station and a growing post-war airline scene. It became the main commercial aviation centre for the upper South Island, including helicopter work.

Illustrated by many rare photographs, this book tells the story of Nelson aviation - its aircraft, personalities, innovations and events - and how it helped develop the whole sunny province. Nelson Airport serves more than 750,000 passengers annually, is the hub for the country’s largest regional airline and is the fourth busiest airport for scheduled flights in New Zealand.

At 336 pages and with over 500 photographs and illustrations (the majority in colour), extensive appendices include a history of all the airlines that have served Nelson over the years. With a bibliography and full index this book covers the entire region including Waimea, Motueka, Golden Bay and Murchison. The Story of Nelson Aviation covers all aspects of aviation; early pioneers, airport development, RNZAF Base Nelson during WWII, agricultural flying, helicopters etc.

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