Campaign to save our aviation history from the scrapyard

As the Warbirds Airshow winds down in Wanaka, a campaign is underway to save some of the country's early commercial planes.

'Bring Our Birds Home' aims to prevent New Zealand's aviation history from ending up on the scrapheap.

National Airways Corporation (NAC) was New Zealand's domestic airline in the golden age of air travel.

One of Air New Zealand's original Boeing 737 aircraft.
One of Air New Zealand's original Boeing 737 aircraft. Photo credit: Bring our Birds Home.

It was thought the original 737 used by NAC had been crushed, but a group campaigning to repatriate old Kiwi airliners found it lying derelict on an airfield in North Carolina, in the US.

The National Transport & Toy Museum has joined forces with the group 'Bring our Birds Home', to try and save this chapter of our aviation history.

A giant hole in the ground beside Wanaka Airport is earmarked as a retirement home for the recovered planes.

The museum has already saved an old Air New Zealand Friendship turbo-prop.

Negotiations are underway to retrieve other planes, including a former Air New Zealand DC-8 in Brazil, and an abandoned DC-10 parked up in Havana, Cuba.

The recovery and restoration missions won't come cheap, but campaigners are confident of having two planes back home by Christmas.