This Pageant mustered at least 15 aeroplanes in total and was to date the biggest held in New Zealand. The crowd was estimated at around 10,000 people, and the pageant was held to officially open the airport at Rongotai, Wellington. At this time the airfield had not yet had grass sewn and the roadways were still metalled, so the pageant proved to bequite a dusty affair. Also the wind forced several planned items to be cut form the programme.
DH60 Moth ZK-AAW of Hawkes Bay Aero Club flown by Captain Allen was to attend but was forced to stay at Dannevirke due to technical troubles.
Captain Maurice Buckley also got stuck at Omaka with one of the two Grebes that was intended to attend after defective controls caused him to crash. This was much lamented by the Evening Post newspaper as they said Buckley was a great 'stunter' and the air battle that could have been had between the two Grebes could have been a great thrill. However Sam Burrell was able to make a solo aerobatic display in the Grebe that did arrive safely at Rongotai. The Evening Post described Burrell as the 'lion of the pageant" and extolled that his display in the single seat fighter was the 'star turn'. Burrell demonstrated the rapid climb to altitude after take off, then dived again to swoop around the airfield and once again gain height. He then put the aircrfat through its paces with, the Post stated, "the loop, falling leaf, spin, half roll and several other evolutions that thrilled spectators."
As well as aeroplanes the crowd were entertained by the Highland Pipe Band and the Mirimar Silver Band.
Among the events throughout the day, pamphlets were dropped to the crowd from a Moth by Captain McGregor and his passenger Mr E. Lloyd.
There was a height estimating contest (with tickets sold be 'attractive young ladies in gold sashes'), and Captain John Seabrook then took Miss Doris Mitchell aloft, and at the official height she let go a red silken parachute to alert the crowd. The wind caught the parachute and it was last seen heading off to Cape Palliser still with a lot of altitude. The result was a lot of wild guesses for the height by the crowd.
It had been advertised that a small concrete building on the aerodrome was to be bombed by aeroplanes. The Evening Post reported afterwards:
"BOMBING" THE HOUSE. "
Bombing the house" was rather a misnomer for the item which concluded the programme, since none of the three 'planes which took part dropped anything at all on their target. However, there was plenty to interest the crowd, for although the programme stated plainly that the house would be blown up when the 'planes were flying overhead, there was tense expectancy each time the machines, circling at a fair height, neared the dilapidated-looking structure on the south-eastern corner of the aerodrome.
Three "attacks" were made. The first double explosion indicated a miss some twenty or thirty yards from the house; the second attempt was also a miss. There was another wait while the 'planes approached the vicinity again, then, with a roar which awakened the echoes from the surrounding hills and was clearly heard in the Hutt Valley, the house "blew up," and a dense cloud of smoke enshrouded tho place for some time.
Eager eyes waited for the smoke pall to lift to see the damage wrought by the explosion, and there was not a little disappointment when it was found that the house bore much the same appearance as formerly. For all that, it was a good show as a spectacle, and one that could easily bear repetition at some future pageant.
Five aircraft flew a formation display, first in a vee formation and then a tail chase, and the formation was considered good and tight considering the blustery wind conditions.
Competitions were held, and the results were as follows.
Landing Competition (pilots had to cut the engine at 1000 feet and glide dead-stick to dand on a 'flagged circle', aiming for the centre)
First Place - Captain Malcolm 'Mac' McGregor in the Hamilton Airways Moth
Second Place - Captain Park in Mr O. Cottrell's Mono-coupe
Low Bombing - pilots had to bomb a well camouflaged car that was travelling around the airfield turning in all directions to avoid the aeroplanes. The pilots flew very low and banked around till they had the car in their sights and then dropped bags of flour, which made visible splashes as they hit the ground, pleasing the crowd. There were no direct hits so no prizes were given.
Aerial Derby - Due to the wind the intended 10 mile course for this air race was cut down to a one lap, four mile race. The results were:
First Place - Captain 'Mac' McGregor ( Hamilton Airways Moth) 3 mins 33 sec
Second Place - Douglas Mill (Air Survey & Transport Co. Moth) 3 mins 57 sec
Third Place - Captain N.H. Barlow (Canterbury Aero Club Moth) 4 mins 13 sec
The Air Pageant saw the Wellington Aero Club raise around £900 and allowed them to order a second aircraft for the club