When in Blenheim, an absolute “must do” is the superb Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre. Call it a museum, call it an exhibition, or call it a dedication to the gallant flying men (and women) of the world. However you describe it, you will have to concede that it is so very cleverly done.
We spent our first hour wandering through the WW1 “Knights of the Sky”. This was the first stage of the project, and one very dear to the heart of the centre’s founder. Peter Jackson’s love of vintage flying machines is well known, and many of the rare and beautiful craft on show are from his own collection of WW1 aircraft and artefacts. These stories of aviation in the Great War are brought to life in sensational sets with lifelike mannequins created by the internationally acclaimed WingNut Films and Weta Workshop.
In the adjacent building, we spent a further hour at the WW2 “Dangerous Skies” exhibition. Here we read the stories from World War II. Tales of daring, valour and tragedy stretching from Britain to Germany, and Russia to the Pacific Islands.
One of my favourite displays details the “night witches”, the Russian women pilots who terrorised the German invaders with their night time bombing raids.
Another full sized diorama depicts the moment in time that the famous Red Barron was shot down, and the British soldiers who found the wreckage souveniring pieces of it!
Incredibly detailed, emotionally enthralling, and inspirations of human courage. You will thoroughly enjoy this little piece of Blenheim.