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New Zealand Aviation before the Great War

Volume One: Ideas, first flight attempts
and the aeronauts 1868-1909

Volplane Press in association with the Aviation Historical Society of New Zealand published the first volume of Errol Martyn's new trilogy - A PASSION FOR FLIGHT, a history of New Zealand aviation before the Great War of 1914-1918, in 2012.

This definitive work presents for the first time a detailed record of all known New Zealand-related aeronautical activity of the long-neglected pioneering period of 1868-1914. The complete trilogy will undoubtedly become an indispensable first place of resource for historians, aviation enthusiasts and genealogists alike.

The 184-page first volume takes the story up to 1909. It includes eye-witness accounts and illustrations, many of which are published for the first time.

There is comprehensive coverage of the daring balloonists and parachutists - aeronauts both local and from abroad (including fascinating American sisters Millie Viola and Leila Adair) - the first people to be seen in New Zealand skies.

One of the New Zealanders, in a balloon of his own, design, established the country's first duration and cross-country flight records.

All known patents, flying machines - designed, constructed or trialled - aerial events and the personnel involved are described in detail. (it is generally not realised that some 70 patents were applied for and more than 30 gliders or aeroplanes were completed or begun in New Zealand by 1914).

The final chapter also puts to rest once and for all the controversial claims made for Richard Pearse as having flown before the American Wright brothers. It brings to light new information about him and his flights attempts that has been overlooked by previous researchers. Included is a lengthy and enlightening interview with the inventor himself!

Four appendices, over 400 end notes and a comprehensive index complete the book .



New Zealand Aviation before the Great War

Volume Two: Aero Clubs, Aeroplanes,

Aviators and Aeronauts 1910-1914

A Passion For Flight is a definitive account of New Zealand aviation's formative years, and is continued with this volume, published in 2013, covering civil aviation activity in New Zealand and by New Zealanders abroad from 1910 to August 1914. Whereas it took only a 184-page first volume to cover the previous four decades this volume's coverage of just five years runs to 320 pages, such was the astonishing growth of interest and participation during the period.

The author brings to light much new material through eyewitness accounts and extensive research of primary sources. He also corrects a number of long-standing errors in previous accounts, particularly regarding the Walsh brothers' trials and tribulations with the Howard Wright biplane (later christened Manurewa No 1) that was imported by the syndicate of which they were members.

Accompanying the text is an amazing collection of over 280 illustrations, many of which appear here in print for the first time.

Volume Three: The Joe Hammond story
and military beginnings 1910-1914

The third and final volume, also published in 2013, covers the 1910-1914 period, presenting the full story of New Zealand's first professional pilot and our most accomplished aviator of the period - Joseph Joel (Joe) Hammond. It also reveals new information about the beginnings of military aviation in New Zealand and the activities of New Zealanders involved in this sphere abroad.

Volum 3



Volumes One and Three NZ$44.90 each and Volume Two NZ$52.90. Add $7.00 per order for delivery within New Zealand. Overseas postage rates available from the publisher on request. To order contact Volplane Press, P O Box 6482, Upper Riccarton, Christchurch 8442, New Zealand or email

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updated 8June2014