Our History

When the first Rotorua Aero Club formed in c1930, members were responsible for constructing a landing strip on land that was part of the State Forestry block.   Rotorua Aero club later initiated an amalgamation with others in the Bay of Plenty. Rotorua and Bay of Plenty Aero Club was duly formed in 1938 with Mayor T. Jackson as its president, at this time Mr. S.J. Blackmore, of Hamilton, had agreed to act as an instructor, he also owned the aircraft, a Sports Avian, which was used until the club were able to purchase one.  They then set about planning an Air Pageant for Easter even though the club did not own any aeroplanes as yet.  

Whites Aviation Limited. 1933. Rotorua Airfield, 14-6633. Walsh Memorial Library, The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT). No known copyright restrictions.

About the same time Rotorua Airways Ltd. was formed with mostly Aero Club members, some 20 men were listed as the owners. It was however a short lived venture and they amalgamated with the Waikato Airways company in September of 1930, but had ceased business by March 1934. (Stafford, 1983)

Pilot training began and it was acknowledged that Blackmore had trained ‘a record number’. (Rotorua Morning Post, 1941).  Their first fully qualified pilot was Mr Basil Smith (New Zealand Herald, 1939)

In 1935 Stan Blackmore, (Previously of Hamilton Airways Ltd c1929 and Waikato Aviation c.1930) applied for permission to conduct his business from the Municipal Aerodrome. He was granted one year’s full use for free because he was a licenced instructor. Stan Blackmore, known locally as ‘Blackie’, was also the first to make a mercy flight picking up a seriously ill person and flying the person to the Rotorua Hospital. Waikato Aviation was changed to Blackmores Air Services Ltd. in 1947 and operated in Rotorua until 1977. Blackmore’s was sold to James Aviation in 1951 after Stan Blackmore retired. (Daily Post, 1983)

In 1941 Prime Minister Fraser opens the new hangar and a new Aero Club rooms:

The new hangar is described as “of modern design, is capable of housing four planes…while the club-house adjacent is equipped with all facilities”. (Rotorua Morning Post, 1941)