By Beckie Wilson
Two months after one of the region’s biggest and most spectacular events was washed out, confirmation of an insurance payout was announced on Thursday.
The payout will bring a sense of relief to organisers of the biennial Wings Over Wairarapa air show, though a spokesman said the next show, due in 2019, would have still gone ahead.
There was a silver lining for the region though — despite all the air show’s flights being grounded, the region’s businesses benefited financially – figures show spending was up over the entire weekend.
The three-day air show was cancelled on February 18, due to heavy rainfall that caused havoc across the region.
While all ticket holders received a full refund within 14 days of the cancellation, all creditors were left in limbo.
About 45 creditors, ranging from infrastructure suppliers for grandstands, marquees and tables and chairs, to toilets and even caterers were waiting for the news on insurance.
Wings over Wairarapa chair Bob Francis said the whole crew essentially built “a whole village” around the limited infrastructure at the Hood Aerodrome in Masterton.
He had been in discussion with their British-based insurers since the cancellation of the festival.
“It was never going to be a quick outcome as the cancellation was a complex case and significant weather data had to be provided as evidence,” he said.
For the insurance to be paid out, there had to be a recording of over 75mm of rain in a 24-hour period within the three-day weekend.
“And we certainly did — some 24-hour periods were over 100mm,” he said.
If the rain didn’t exceed the requirements, it would have been very difficult to push the claim through, he said.
Although the event didn’t go ahead, those who travelled to the region for the weekend remained, ensuring a great financial outcome for the region.
“Looking at the recent ‘Marketview Report’ on what consumers were spending their money on during the festival, accommodation saw the biggest growth in the region, up 26.3 per cent.”
Major retailers saw strong growth, up 19.4 per cent, while takings for hospitality industry businesses such as bars, cafes and restaurants over that particular period were up 29.4 per cent in Masterton and up 20.1 per cent for the region.
“So, while it was a washout for us, the event itself once again provided excellent financial returns for others.
“On behalf of everyone at Wings I cannot thank our supporters enough for their patience and understanding during this time.”