First airmail flight re-enacted

From Timaru to Temuka

AUDREY MALONE
Last updated 05:00 07/03/2014
Eric Robins and his 1906 Darracq took part in yesterday’s ''air mail’’ re-enactment, along with New Zealand Post representative Alan Ferguson, and pilot Jack Mehlhopt

HISTORIAL RE-ENACTMENT: Eric Robins and his 1906 Darracq took part in yesterday’s ''air mail’’ re-enactment, along with New Zealand Post representative Alan Ferguson, and pilot Jack Mehlhopt.

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New Zealand's first airmail flight, which took mail from Timaru to Temuka, was not smooth flying and yesterday's centenary re-enactment looked like it could have been the same.

Will Scotland's 1914 flight from Fraser Park, which dropped off mail at Temuka's Catholic church, required a brief stop at Quarry Rd to refuel.

When it came to yesterday's commemorative microlight flight, piloted by Jack Mehlhopt, it took three attempts before the engine started.

Timaru Philatelic Society president Ray Bennett, who helped organise the flight yesterday, said it was great fun to mark the historic event.

"As soon as he took off the sun came out. I took that as a great omen," Mr Bennett said.

The 10-minute flight delivered 1000 envelopes to Temuka. They carried stamps to mark the anniversary and a special Temuka postmark.

Two hundred of the envelopes will be signed by Mr Mehlhopt.

The envelopes will be sold, and any profits divided among the six groups which helped New Zealand Post make the day happen, Mr Bennett said.

"It was a great example of cooperation between groups for a common purpose."

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- The Timaru Herald

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