Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 33, September 1989

By lan Parlane

Probably there are few people living in the district who would be aware that a preliminary plan was prepared for an aerodrome close to Paeroa. Shortly after the 2nd World War the then Labour Government decided that each region should have a 10 year development plan. The idea was that a logical endeavour should take place to make up for the years when no progress had been possible because of the six years of war. Public Works Department (later to become the Ministry of Works) was to consult with all local authorities and prepare "the Plan". The idea of the plan may have had good intentions but, in the event, it finished up becoming a gigantic "wish list" which was beyond the realms of possibility.

One of the items on the local list was an aerodrome for Paeroa. The remarkable deeds of the Air Force had fired the imaginations of many citizens who visualised rapid growth of commuter airlines whizzing all around New Zealand.

The problem for the local Works Department office was to find a piece of ground close enough to town and yet of sufficient size to accommodate two opposed runways. It is hard to see into the minds of those who were charged with carrying out the investigation so it ill behoves us to be critical of their choice. The plan which I saw recently has the reference number 'Paeroa 2952'. It shows the location as Pereniki Bend with access from Junction Road. The main runway was to be East-West with a length of approximately 1.2kms. A North-South runway of just under a kilometre is also proposed.

Clearance to the east was 1 in 26 for 3 miles giving a "glide angle" of 2 degrees 12 minutes. A Wind-star shows S.E. wind at Force 5 (20 knots) and N.E. wind at Force 4 (15 knots) but much more frequent N.W. winds averaging Force 2 (7 knots). Flood records showed that infrequent flooding would close the aerodrome from time to time but the plan shows all permanent structures are to be erected beyond the stopbank and along Maori Road.

Despite all the work and thought which went into the investigation, the project was still-born. The plan bears the notations of "Drawn H P Wylde 6/50, Traced D P Sheehan 2/51".

Nothing further seems to have eventuated so it seems that the proposition died an even faster death than the Paeroa-Pokeno rail link. Ten or so years later the Campbell farm aerodrome on the Tirohia-Tahuna road was also looked at for possible development to suit scheduled commuter craft. My recollection is, however, that the ground did not have enough bearing capacity to support the weight of planes carrying more than 4 or so passengers