Te Kowhai airfield has been part of the Te Kowhai community for over 50 years, since Max Clear converted farm paddocks into an airstrip. Over the years an aviation community developed and the new owners intend to continue with Max Clears original vision to create an airpark where flying is accessible to all.
A group of passionate local pilots have banded together with local Waikato firm Foster Develop to acquire the land with a vision to preserve the community airfield for generations of aviators to come.
“The airfield is a critical component of the Te Kowhai community,” says Regan Brown a Te Kowhai resident, recreational pilot and one of the new owners. “It’s a really important focal point for recreational and social activities”. Pilots take off from Te Kowhai in their microlights or Cessna’s and fly anywhere from a quick trip to Raglan or Coromandel, to as far south as Canterbury. Some for fun and relaxation, others for business.
“Colin Wade who is a director of Fosters and also a passionate aviator was keen to be involved to secure the future of the Te Kowhai Airfield” said Regan.
“Our airfield is the heart of Te Kowhai”, said Mr Wade, “and brings flying enthusiasts from all over the country and even from around the world as they hop around New Zealand. Farmers, families and businessmen who use their personal light planes to get around the regions, holiday spots and businesses, as well as just having fun on the weekends. It’s very social and if we lost the airfield to farmland it would create a massive hole in the landscape” said Colin.
The first priority of the new owners is to ensure the airfield is sustainable. This will involve investing in the existing facilities to encourage better community use.
The vision is to create a relaxed and fun environment for the community to enjoy, and for pilots and their families to pursue their passion of flying light aircraft.
Immediate plans include reinstating the full length runway that covers two neighbouring properties. This will add to the safety of the airfield for its recreational users.
Now that the future of the Te Kowhai Airfield has been secured, the new owners are welcoming the support of the local community and intend to have an open day at the airfield for the local residents in the near future.