Heritage, Culture & Arts

Marlborough’s rich history runs wide and deep, from the earliest Polynesian settlers of the Wairau Bar to the first European pioneers who built our towns and planted our first grapevines.

These people, the way they lived their lives and how they dealt with history’s major events has shaped Marlborough into what it is today. Those stories are all here, waiting to be discovered all over again.

Marlborough has a wealth of arts and culture, from art galleries to museums through to concerts and theatre productions.

Follow the Marlborough Arts and Crafts Trail, enjoy a glass of wine while listening to live music at a vineyard or on stage at Marlborough's new ASB Theatre.

Marlborough Airport Heritage

Marlborough Airport, located at Woodbourne, 8km west of Blenheim, is the region’s main airport.

In 2015 the airport was New Zealand’s 13th busiest, with 250,000 passengers.

The airport was one of the first airports in New Zealand, and also one of the first to accommodate turboprop aircraft.

The airfield gained attention in 1928 when the Blenheim Borough Council prepared land and built a temporary hangar at Woodbourne Farm for an important visitor - pioneering aviator Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and his Fokker trimotor monoplane, Southern Cross.

Kingsford Smith and his crew of three used the field as their departure point for the return leg of their historic trans-Tasman crossing in 1928.

But the Southern Cross was not the first famous plane to land in Blenheim. In 1920, the first flight across Cook Strait touched down on a Dillons Point farm, with Captain Euan Dickson carrying New Zealand’s first air mail between the South and North Islands aboard his Avro 504K.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force built a base at Woodbourne during World War Two. RNZAF Base Woodbourne remains today as a training and heavy maintenance facility, and shares the airport with civilian services.

Air New Zealand, Sounds Air, Air 2 There and charter airlines all operate from the airport.

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