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Sir Tim told the group of about 120 invited guests it was a "great honour" to be asked to open the attraction, developed by the Warbirds Over Wanaka Community Trust during the past year to replace the former New Zealand Fighter Pilots Museum.
The attraction will be managed by private car collectors Robert Duncan, George Wallis and Garth Hogan, of Wanaka, and Phil Dunstan, of Queenstown, and will showcase a collection of Warbirds, rare classic cars, military equipment, New Zealand art and Sir Tim memorabilia.
"It is a display of international significance and importance and I am so delighted my Hurricane and my Hiller 12E are a part of it," Sir Tim said in his speech.
Warbirds Over Wanaka Community Trust chairman Murray Cleverley said, coupled with the Warbirds over Wanaka airshow, the opening of Warbirds and Wheels "completes a double of two world-class activities".
Those activities and the New Zealand Fighter Pilots Museum were "all due to the vision of one man, Sir Tim", Mr Cleverley said.
Warbirds and Wheels opened to the public on December 28.
Funding for the project included a $200,000 grant from Central Lakes Trust.