Douglas DC3 historic airliner operated by Airscapade
arrives in Te Anau on Monday. Photo by Southern Lakes
France-based New Zealand businessman Mark Oremland had a
dream when he bought a 1940s DC3 18 months ago.
First he was going to re-create pioneer Kiwi aviatrix Jean
Batten's record-setting flight from England to New Zealand of
76 years ago, then he was going to base the plane at Te Anau
where it would operate commercial scenic flights over
He managed the first part but the second is proving a
He needs $100,000 within the next month to enable the
aircraft to pass its 100-hour check but says he does not have
"I'm out of the frying pan into the fire. If I can't find a
way to keep it here and make it pay for himself I will have
to sell it," he said yesterday, hours after the plane landed
at Te Anau Airport with himself and four others aboard.
There were potential buyers in the United States, he said.
In 1936, Batten became the first person to fly from England
to New Zealand, a distance of 22,000km, arriving in Auckland
11 days and 45 minutes' flying time after her departure from
the English county of Kent.
Mr Oremland owns Te Anau Lodge and said he wanted to cap off
his adventure by landing in "the most beautiful part of New
Zealand" and the town which is his home when he is in this
The sun shone, the mountains and lake glistened and about 250
appreciative spectators watched as the plane landed about
12.25pm. It was escorted on to the apron by two 1961 Rovers
and a vintage fire engine.
Batten made her journey in a Percival Gull plane. Yesterday,
a similar plane, a restored Percival Proctor from the
Mandeville airfield near Gore, landed at Te Anau behind the
Te Anau had given the DC3 a "spectacular welcome", Mr
"There was no reception in Auckland for Jean Batten all those
years ago, and now we had this welcome from a town which
didn't even exist then. It was quite moving, actually."
The plane had been sitting on an English airfield for six
years before Mr Oremland bought it on a whim. It was flown to
France and underwent an extensive and expensive upgrade to
gain its certificate of airworthiness.
The England to New Zealand trip had been satisfying but
costlier than he expected, he said.
"I bought myself a trip of a lifetime, but I won't be doing
Mr Oremland's next project is creating a language and
linguistics permanent interactive exhibition in Paris.
"Life you only get once, and it is nice to touch as many
different things as possible along the way."