The Community Fun Day held on 30 November 2013 at Nelson Airport was a great success, attracting a crowd of close to 10,000. The people started pouring in at 9.30 am, half an hour before the opening time and continued right throughout the day. The formal proceedings started at 11 am and included a traditional Maori welcome, speeches and the cutting of the cake which was designed and custom made for the occasion. Helping Kaye McNabb, CEO of Nelson Airport Ltd, cut the cake was June Spencer who, as a child in 1938, attended the Airport Opening. This was followed by a performance by the Whatukura Kapa Haka Group. During the day the crowd were entertained by the Royal New Zealand Air Force Band and also demonstrations by the Rebecca Bignall Academy of Dance. TV One's beloved weatherman and avid aviator, Jim Hickey, kept the children busy with photo opportunities and give-aways.
Displays were provided by local aviation related businesses, the Royal New Zealand Air Force, Nelson-Marlborough Rescue Helicopter, the Red Cross, ATC and many others. These were well received by the public with the feedback being very positive. A total of 18 aircraft including both planes and helicopters were on display so people could get up close and personal. Some were even available to sit in so people could experience the feeling of being at the controls and maybe even dream of one day flying themselves.
The Southern DC3 offered flights over Nelson which was a very popular attraction, this being the last time it will be flying passengers at this type of event before being put into retirement at the Ashburton Aviation Museum in January next year. Also on display was the World War II Avro Anson which was lovingly restored locally over a period of 10 years and believed to be the only Avro Anson certified airworthy in the world.
The day drew to a close at 4 pm and as the hangar emptied it was obvious to all the people involved that the day had been a huge success. Our thanks and best wishes go out to the people of Nelson for their support on this very special occasion.