Flying Boat Restoration Project Receives a Boost from Auckland Airport

MOTAT is delighted to be awarded a $10,000 donation from Auckland Airport through their ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ charitable campaign. These funds will be used to conserve the cockpit of the world’s last remaining Solent Flying Boat, the Aranui, which is housed at MOTAT. It’s an artefact of international significance and an integral part of New Zealand’s Aviation History.

MOTAT’s Commercial Manager, Jeff Morris explains why the Solent is one of New Zealand's most iconic aircraft, “this majestic flying boat once graced the Pacific skies ferrying passengers along the Coral Route. It was operated by Tasman Empire Airways Limited (TEAL) and the route was labelled the most romantic in the world by those who flew it,” he says.

This is the eighth consecutive year that Auckland Airport has collected unwanted currency, using donation globes located throughout the airport, topped up the amount and given the money to charitable organisations on behalf of travellers. All applications Auckland Airport received were of a very high standard and the task of selecting 12 charities to equally share the $120,000 was a difficult one.

The first phase of the Solent restoration project, focussing on the interior of the aircraft, was made possible by a donation from Air New Zealand, who succeeded TEAL.  The Museum is now seeking funding to complete the restoration and begin work on the exterior.

The aim is to return the Solent to the way it looked during the flying boat heydays of the 1950s and Auckland Airport’s contribution has brought MOTAT closer to achieving that goal.

For further information, photographs or interviews please contact:
Vanessa Hefer
Communications Advisor
Phone: 845 3703
Mobile: 021 340 518
Email: vanessa.hefer@motat.org.nz