The Great War flies into Blenheim
Located in a hangar in Omaka aerodrome on the outskirts of Blenheim, Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre houses an astonishing collection of World War I and World War II fighter planes, along with artefacts and possessions from the battlefields of Europe.
Inside, the story of the people who fought on both sides of the lines are brought to life through a series of stunning displays and dioramas. Covering everything from legendary heroes, like Eddie Rickenbacker and Manfred von Richthofen, to local New Zealanders who travelled back to Europe to defend the crown, the museum's two exhibitions are fascinating and sobering.
Sir Peter Jackson's Knights of the Sky
Lord of the Rings director, Peter Jackson, brings his personal collection of war memorabilia to life in the stunning Knights of the Sky exhibition.
The exhibition features several reenactments of real-life WWI battles, with each scene being brought back to life with unerring realism though dioramas produced by Wingnut films, accompanied by unbelievably believable mannequins from award-winning special effects company Weta Workshops.
Dangerous Skies WWII Exhibition
Featuring the Messerschmitt Bf108 once owned and flown by German ace Franz Stigler, the magnificent de Havilland Mosquito and the famous ‘Gloria Lyons’ P-40 Kittyhawk, along with a Lockheed Hudson light bomber suspended in a dramatic crash scene in the depths of a Pacific island jungle.
Dangerous Skies tells the story of a global aerial war, brought back to life with stunningly realistic mannequins produced by Weta Workshops.
Yealands Classic Fighters Omaka
EASTER WEEKEND: 7-9 APRIL 2023
Held at the Omaka aerodrome every two years, the Yealands Classic Fighters Omaka is an unmissable display of historic aircraft and is Marlborough's biggest single event.
Watch daredevil displays and historic reenactments take place in the sky above you, while back on terra firma you can wander amongst an historic display of classic cars, while sipping on world-famous Marlborough wines complimented with local food, fireworks, and live music. It is a fantastic day out for all ages.
History in the making
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre was born when a small group of local aircraft enthusiasts formed the Marlborough Warbirds Association after importing a pair of Chinese Nangchang trainers to restore and fly out of the Omaka aerodrome.
The whirring radial engines roaring over Marlborough commanded attention, and soon the aerodrome was not only attracting interested visitors, but also more heritage aircraft owned by fellow enthusiasts.
By 1997, the group had founded the New Zealand Aviation Museum Trust which in turn attracted the interest and support of local film director, Sir Peter Jackson, who is an avid collector of WWI memorabilia.
With Sir Peter's assistance, the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre was soon housing its first exhibition—Knights of the Sky. The exhibition was a groundbreaking display, marrying Sir Peter's unique collection with his passion for theatre to bring World War I to life.
In 2016, a second exhibition, Dangerous Skies, was added and the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre cemented its place as one of New Zealand's top attractions.
Directions to Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
79 Aerodrome Road, Omaka, Blenheim 7272
Getting there and away
Whether it's a train from Christchurch or a guided tour from Auckland, we have several ways to get you Blenheim to visit the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre by train: