I am a self confessed train dork, but turns out I am a plane dork as well (as long as I don’t actually have to fly in the bastards I find them really interesting). So I was amped to hear about MOTATs new aviation display hall. Last time I visited it was just an old hanger full of some rusting planes, but now…it’s beautiful. And I mean that with no sarcasm at all, the architecture is simply stunning. Then when you put some very cool old planes in this beautiful building it just gets better.
Highlight had to be learning about our national hero Jean Batten, the first person to make a solo flight from England to New Zealand. By all accounts she sounded like a bit of a nightmare. An ambitious and driven woman who managed to accomplish her dream when she was 27. Then she spent the next 50 years trying to live off that solo flight, fighting to keep herself relevant. She died in absolute isolation of an infected dog bite of all things, after she took herself to Majorca telling friends not to try and contact her (she did this type of thing a few times over the years). But when she died an administrative error by the Spanish government meant that no one in NZ was told. It was years before her family knew Jean had died, she had been buried in a paupers grave in the mean time. I sure as hell didn’t learn that part in school.
But horrific deaths aside, the other cool thing about my MOTAT visit was seeing the planes being restored right on site. This could be endless hours of entertainment for a small child (or runawaykiwi).
The day was summed up by a super dorky fun ride on the tram. Swoon.