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. 

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: