Jackson giving history its wings

Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre

Sir Peter Jackson will reportedly help form a replica World War I aerodrome in Britain with a fleet of New Zealand planes.

To mark the centenary of the conflict, Jackson plans to help stage flypasts and air displays across Britain until 2018 and beyond, The Sunday Times reported yesterday.

Jackson chairs the 14-18 Aviation Heritage Trust, which manages the collection of original and replica aircraft at Marlborough's Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre.

A listing on Britain's WW1 Aviation Heritage Trust website yesterday showed Jackson's trust have given the British trust £5000 (NZ$9900) in start-up funding.

The aerodrome will be based at Britain's only intact World War I airfield, Stow Maries in Essex.

The trust's website also said this year the first of a series of documentaries about the evolution of the aviation in WW1 would be made in New Zealand by the 14-18 Aviation Heritage Trust.

Sir Peter has spoken before of his desire to make a feature film based on the Anzacs, but it is not known what part he will play in the making of the documentaries.

Dick Forsythe, chief trustee of the WWI Aviation Heritage Trust, told The Sunday Times he intends to bring a first batch of seven aircraft to Britain from New Zealand by May 1 to mark the centenary of 7 Squadron, the last one to be formed before war broke out.

Mr Forsythe's daughter, Natalie, helped to start the project when she worked on The Hobbit and met Gene DeMarco, production manager of the Vintage Aviator company, which built and operates the aircraft in the film director's trust.

Jackson also owns The Vintage Aviator.

The Sunday Times article reported Jackson would decide the scale of his involvement at a meeting in New Zealand within the next few days.

During the past 10 years Jackson has become more involved in projects about Gallipoli and World War I. His team used cutting-edge film technology to restore the only film taken of the Anzacs at Gallipoli.

Jackson was not available for comment yesterday and DeMarco could not be contacted. Fairfax NZ

The Marlborough Express