WONZ 225 – Lou Larsen – Rukuhia Graveyard

Guest: Lou Larsen

Host: Dave Homewood

Recorded: 17th of December 2019

Released: 18th of July 2020

Duration: 1 hour 9 minutes 43 seconds

In this episode Dave Homewood sits down with Lou Larsen, the adopted son of the late Rukuhia scrap dealer Jim Larsen. The Larsen family owned the aluminium smelting business situated on the edge of former RNZAF Station Rukuhia, now Hamilton Airport, in the Waikato. Jim Larsen bought up over 500 surplus RNZAF aeroplanes – P-40 Warhawks and Kittyhawks, Corsairs, Hudsons, Venturas, Avengers, Catalinas, etc., and they were cut up and smelted to make aluminium ingots.

Lou was a child there when this began and over the twenty year period of the operation he grew up literally amongst the old aeroplanes, and got involved in the smelting process himself.

The following photos were taken by Dave Jenkinson, and were kindly supplied by Warwick Jones of the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Hamilton Branch. They depict scenes at the Larsen aircraft graveyard.

NB: The music at the end of this episode is Wild Flower by Joakim Karud

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