Inflatable plane, Devon Street

Production date
Jun 1974
Description
An inflatable Boeing 737 plane on the corner of Robe Street and Devon Street (former site of the old post office and clock tower). Inside the plane is a 55 seat cinema used for the National Travel Association conference in New Plymouth.
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Object detail

Artist/Maker
Production role
Photographer
Production date
Jun 1974
Production place
Production period
Collection
Accession number
PHO2011-2168
Collection type

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I worked for Wellington's NAC Head Office Marketing in the Advertising section from Jan 1975 until April 1978, when the airline was merged. My boss, Richard Williams, who was the Advertising Manager, tasked me with of organising the 1975/1976 tour of the "Inflatable Boeing Display" around various NZ cities in its new Wings of the Nation livery. We toured Auckland (at the Easter Show), Nelson (in the main street), Christchurch (at the anniversary A&P show), Dunedin (in a park near the main street into the city) and Invercargill (in a city park). A National Film Unit 16mm movie of tourist spots in NZ was shown, preceded and followed by NAC TV ads. Real NAC cabin attendants gave out NAC boiled sweets and the guests who attended were seated in actual aircraft seats and entered the "aircraft" through airlock doors. A large fan kept the Boeing display inflated and the fuselage was constructed by a sail making firm in Auckland. A specialised construction crew under the control of Trevor Humphries (Auckland) was contracted to set up and dismantle the display. The Boeing almost took off in very strong winds in Dunedin on one occassion, without anyone on board fortunately. This incident made the network news. The Boeing was eventually vandalised in Invercargill and apparently ended up at a local farm, as a hay cover. The display was very effective visually but also very labour intensive to set up and run and NAC eventually opted for smaller audio visual public displays.

- Glenn Evans on 07-12-2021 06:00:48

This inflatable Boeing was sent around NZ by (then) NAC to provincial cities, including New Plymouth, where Boeing aircraft were soon to land. An audio-visual presentation aboard showed potential new passengers what they would see on a flight, and featured striking NZ scenery from the air. The plane was in town for around 2 days and the audio-visual show was free. Its stay in New Plymouth coincided with a local theatre group staging the comedy "Boeing Boeing" , so became an excellent publicity opportunity for the group and NAC.

- Jacqueline Owen on 15-08-2019 12:13:17

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