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Wings will wait till November

Wings over Wairarapa has announced a new event date of November 24 to 26 this year, after the event was postponed earlier this month due to the ongoing challenges arising from the damage of Cyclone Gabrielle.

The Masterton-based air festival was set to attract tens of thousands from across New Zealand to Hood Aerodrome to see an air show featuring Spitfires, Mustangs, Peter Jackson’s collection of World War I fighter planes in the air, and a flyover from the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s new P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.

Wings chairman and Carterton mayor Ron Mark said postponing the event was the right decision, given the devastation and loss of life afflicting neighbouring regions, the unpredictable weather, and the priorities of the Defence Force during a state of emergency.

He said work was underway to organise the festival for November.

“This will give us time to make the show even bigger and better, potentially even with some more aircraft available.

“After the decision to postpone, it has been a priority for the team to work with our key stakeholders to secure a new date.

“With the announcement, we can get planning underway again to deliver a world-class air festival based right here in Wairarapa.

“Our board and management team are both humbled and grateful for the incredible support we have received from our partners, stakeholders, ticketholders, and the wider community,” Mark said.

He previously said that Wings over Wairarapa was the largest and potentially most expensive event in the lower North Island.

Wings general manager Carla Steed said ticket-holders would automatically have their tickets transferred to the new date, and those unable to make the new date would have a 14-day window to request a full refund.

“We really appreciate the support we have received and hope the community continues to get behind the festival,” she said.

The festival ryns every two years, drawing crowds from far and wide for the large aircraft display.

It was initially scheduled to take place during the weekend of February 24-26.

As well as the aircraft display, the Wings Over Wairarapa air festival is also set to feature the Take Flight programme.

Take Flight will be an interactive STEM education programme that provides engaging activities and demonstrations to school children to encourage them to consider career pathways in aviation and aerospace. It will expand on previous years’ youth programmes; this year, more than 5000 students from all Wairarapa schools are scheduled to attend on the Friday, and it will continue to be available for all visitors on Saturday and Sunday.

Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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