John Smith Collection’s Public Debut Scheduled for Easter

Dangerous Skies WW2 Exhibition Hall to host a special preview of key display aircraft

Worldwide public interest has been high since the announcement last month that the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre (OAHC) had been appointed by the family of deceased aviation collector John Smith, to preserve and display three of his key aeroplanes. To satisfy popular demand and raise the money required for the ongoing presentation of the aircraft, a once-only unique display compilation inside the WW2 exhibition will be staged specifically to showcase the famous and secretive Smith Collection from Thursday 01 April to Monday, 05 April 2021.

This group comprises John Smith’s own Tiger Moth ZK-BQB which he flew as his personal aeroplane, P-40 NZ3220, ‘Gloria Lyons’ and the de Havilland Mosquito NZ2336 for which the collection was so well known. They will join a Lockheed Hudson NZ2049, that had previously been a part of the collection and has been on display at Omaka in the Dangerous Skies Exhibition since late 2019.

How far the preservation work may have progressed on the aircraft is unknown at this time, but their display will go ahead as planned for Easter 2021. In addition to this remarkable collection of aircraft, visitors will see the replica Stuka, the Hurricane replica from the 1967 ‘The Battle of Britain’ movie and the immersive Stalingrad experience.

This unique display will be available for viewing for the five days of Thursday through to Monday before changing back to the normal display. During Yealands Classic Fighters, Friday 02 April to Sunday 04 April only air show attendees will have access (by separate admission) to the collection. The general public will have the opportunity to visit on the preceding Thursday and following Monday. “Planning your holidays has never been more important” says Omaka AHC and Yealands Classic Fighters board member, Graham Orphan. “You won’t want to travel all the way to Marlborough and miss this spectacular experience!”.

About Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre

Established to provide a world-class destination for the appreciation of historic aircraft and the human stories that emerged through these two great conflicts in the skies, the Omaka AHC opened in 2006 with the Knights of the Sky exhibition, featuring Sir Peter Jackson’s extensive Great War collection of aircraft and rare memorabilia. The calibre of the displays, enhanced by Weta Workshop’s mannequins and sets produced by WingNut Films, launched the Centre to international acclaim. Dangerous Skies, the WWII exhibition opened in 2016 and explores the stories of both male and female aviators. Iconic warbirds are on display including a flyable Spitfire Mk.14 and the Battle for Stalingrad comes to life in an experience which is equally informative, entertaining and heartbreaking.

To learn more visit or call us at +64 3 579 1305


Members of the Omaka aviation community prepare the Mosquito for relocation.
Photo credit: Graham Orphan

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