Tiger Moth arriving on Stewart Island 90 years later the first flight landed

In marking 90 years since the first plane arrived on Stewart Island/Rakiura, a Tiger Moth will travel to the island on Saturday.

The yellow 1942 Tiger Moth was required to be in the skies over Invercargill about 2.30 pm on Saturday, landing in the city to refuel on its way to the island from Mandeville.

Croydon Aircraft Company pilot Ben Morrison would be ready for Sam Paton, who Morrison said knew the island well.

They are wanting to arrive on Mason Bay Beach, a similar date of the first plane arriving on the island in 1931.

Conditions for flying on Saturday looked great, Morrison said.

On February 27, 1931, Oscar Garden landed a DH 60 de Havilland Gipsy Moth named Kia Ora at Horseshoe Bay.

The flight happened after a £5 wager with Myross Bush man Geoff Todd.

Todd was in the Gipsy Moth with Garden, a model of plane that the Tiger Moth would supplant.

It appears to be the greater part of the town went to the beach to watch.

Around then, a few planes had flown over the island previously, and a few children were so scared at seeing an airplane moving toward they ran and stowed away in the bush.

The first flight over the island was 10 years sooner, on January 13, 1921.

Garden and Todd landed at Horseshoe Bay.

They landed in windy conditions, yet a heap of bull kelp on a wheel directed them into the water. Nobody was harmed and the plan was not harmed.

Garden’s daughter Mary detailed the experience in a New Zealand Geographic article.

Garden flew from England to Australia in October 1930 and would proceed to become chief pilot at Tasman Empire Airways Limited (presently Air New Zealand).

On Saturday, a support plane would be noticeable all around to photo the flight.

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