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Kiwi of the Week

  • James Hēnare

    James Henare was Nga Puhi leader, soldier, farmer, and community leader. After the Second World War he helped set up the kohanga reo programme and fought for recognition of Maori rights under the Treaty of Waitangi

Today in History

1911 First controlled powered flight in New Zealand

Pioneering aviator Vivian Walsh made the first controlled powered flight in New Zealand. He and his brother Leo had built the British-designed Howard Wright biplane from imported plans.

Vivian Walsh flew the Manurewa more than 350 m at a height of 20 m, watched by a small group of spectators at Glencora Park in Papakura, South Auckland. The brothers went on to found the New Zealand Flying School, with Vivian becoming the first New Zealander to obtain an aviator’s certificate.

South Canterbury farmer Richard Pearse had worked on ideas for powered flight as early as 1899. He may have made his first attempt at flight on 31 March 1903, eight months before the Wright brothers made a controlled flight in the United States.

Image: The Manurewa (Te Ara).

How to cite this page: 'First controlled powered flight in New Zealand', URL: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/page/first-controlled-powered-flight-new-zealand, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 23-Oct-2013

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