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Cannon Returns From Kiwi Adventure

By Harold Cannon, Editor

Tiger Moth
SE5A World War I replica in suspended flight.

Hawker Hurricane
NZFPM Hawker Hurricane on display.

Rolls Royce engine
Rolls-Royce Merlin

A recent family trip to New Zealand was wonderful, but perhaps one of the best unexpected pleasures was the level of warbird interest in “N Zed.”

The South Island of New Zealand is incredibly beautiful. I’m not a big fan of The Lord of the Rings movies, but much of what one might think was computer created is actually on the South Island. Against this backdrop you will find the New Zealand Fighter Pilots Museum. The collection there includes a Tiger Moth, Hawker Hurricane, Lavochkin La-9, all in airworthy condition, and a de Havilland Vampire on static display. The aircraft are great, but the real surprise is in the collection of memorabilia. Much of it is directly related to the Battle of Britain and the contributions made by Kiwi pilots and crews. Uniforms, medals, citations, guns, and motors are all displayed. The museum was founded on the personal collection of Sir Tim Wallis in 1993.

Barbara O’Shannessy was an excellent host and directed us from the museum to the hangar of Robert Borrius-Broek. This guy gets to live in a mountain paradise and fly a P-51 and L-39. Apart from that, he’s a true gentleman who made us feel welcome, and he opened his hangar for a bit of airplane admiration. And it’s not too often that you travel halfway around the globe and find a guy who shares your mechanic, but Robert fits that bill. In the course of getting to know him we found - I think to mutual surprise - that Uli Megel of International Jets had done work on both of our planes. A Warbirds of America decal graces Robert’s P-51. It is indeed a small world. His website, www.Jetflights.co.nz, has details on both aircraft and contact information if you happen to find yourself on the other side of the world and in need of a warbird fix.

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