**OMAKA AVIATION HERITAGE CENTRE RANKED #2 MUSEUM IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC**
- In Trip Advisors’ 2015 Travellers' Choice Award for Museums
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre was established to provide a world-class destination for the appreciation of historic aircraft. The “Knights of the Sky” exhibition is the world’s largest collection of World War 1 aircraft and rare memorabilia and is on long-term loan from film director Sir Peter Jackson. Thanks to Sir Peter’s generosity, the aircraft have been brought to life in a series of dioramas created by Wingnut Films and enhanced with lifelike mannequins by Weta Workshop. A second exhibition Dangerous Skies will tell the story of aviation development during World War 2 and is scheduled to open in June 2015.
Open 7 days a week
1 Dec - 31 March from 9:00am- 5:00pm
1 April - 30 November 10:00am-5:00pm
Last entry 1 hour prior to closure
Scheduled guided tours operate twice daily at 10.30am and 2.00pm or enjoy the exhibition at your leisure.
CLOSED Christmas Day only
Omaka's first exhibition, “Knights of the Sky”, occupies some 3,000 sqm of purpose-built display area. It comprises one of the world's largest collections of World War 1 aircraft and rare memorabilia, including a mix of dramatically staged static displays along with flyable planes. The collection is managed by the 14-18 Aviation Heritage Trust, which is chaired by film director Peter Jackson, and has been brought to life in a series of theatrical dioramas constructed with the artistic talent and technical expertise of some of New Zealand's most talented storytellers.
The extensive dioramas take you back to a time long gone and almost forgotten when the harshness and cruelty of the war in the trenches contrasted with the chivalry and bravado of the war in the air. When SE5as and Fokker Triplanes went head to head; the steeds of these latter day knights of the air jousting for survival. This spectacular multi-sensory experience, enhanced with special effects lighting is designed to be both educational and entertaining for all ages.
We have moved into yet another branch of heritage aviation with the establishment of a vintage joy flights operation at our base at Omaka Airfield, Blenheim. Our Boeing Stearman is configured with three seats so that couples can travel together in the front cockpit and share the wonderful experience of flying over the stunning scenery of New Zealand's premier wine-growing region of Marlborough. We have a range of different flights available covering a broad spectrum of attractive localities around the province. So come on over and fly with us. You'll enjoy a unique vintage aviation experience with Classic Wings!
The Aviation Heritage Centre was born of a love of aviation, an appreciation of its role in history and recognition of its value to our future.
It began with a resurgence of heritage aviation interest in Marlborough in the late 1990's when a group of enthusiasts imported two Chinese Nanchang trainers and established the Marlborough Warbirds Association as a way to foster interest and provide a social network of support. The sound of the Nanchang's radial engines was heard over Blenheim drawing curious spectators and, increasingly, other heritage aircraft. As word of the growing range and rarity of aircraft stored at Omaka spread, tourists also began knocking on the hangar doors.
At this point, in 1997, a small group of aircraft owners and enthusiasts got together to discuss the means by which these aircraft could be made accessible to the public on a more practical and sustainable basis, and grow the public understanding and appreciation of aviation. It culminated in the formation of the New Zealand Aviation Museum Trust. Their vision was that this facility should be a hub; a focal point of activity reaching not only aviation but also tourism, education and industry to the benefit of the Marlborough community, New Zealand and aviation enthusiasts throughout the world.
That vision has taken shape as a permanent “living” centre of aviation heritage designed to fascinate, educate and inspire visitors of all ages, while forming the nucleus for a broader centre of aviation excellence including: aircraft restoration/painting/upholstery, vintage/warbird experience flights - even whole aircraft manufacture.
Key to the development has been the establishment of the Marlborough Aviation Cluster. This initiative has received strong support from the Marlborough District Council and Marlborough Regional Development Trust, both of whom recognised aviation as a key driver in Marlborough's economy and successfully applied to NZ Trade and Enterprise for a Major Regional Initiative grant to build Stage One of the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre.
“Works class experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2015 NEW
A world class attraction . Even if you think you don't like museums , this will make you think twice . Fantastic models and a real treat to see Peter Jacksons private collections.
“Absolutely mind blowing”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2015 NEW
What a fantastic place to visit. Everything in here is so life like you would think all the exhibits were real. Thoroughly recommend this place. My wife is not an aviation enthusiast but thought the museum was fantastic. We will be going back
- Bearded Willy
“A must see destination in Blenheim”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2015
Omaka Aviation Museum blows your mind! The displays are amazing - so realistic and it is a really educational experience too. A real insight into the aviators of WW1.