Further enhancing Warbirds Over Wanaka’s status as one of New Zealand’s premier events is the main focus for the organisation’s new General Manager. The Warbirds Over Wanaka Community Trust has announced the appointment of Ed Taylor to head up the airshow team.
He replaces Roger Clark who has led the organisation for the past two airshows.
Ed Taylor owned and operated local media company Radio Wanaka Limited, until earlier this year. Before moving to Wanaka in 2003 he held management positions in various media companies including The Radio Network and Prospect Limited.
Ed has a passion for Wanaka and Warbirds Over Wanaka. "I have been to every airshow since moving to Wanaka and I just love it. You don’t have to be an aviation or warbirds ‘enthusiast’ to enjoy the show."
"It’s the noise, the history and the amazing flying skills on display," says Ed. He says there are good reasons why Warbirds Over Wanaka has been rated in the top four Warbirds airshows in the world. "The Wanaka mountain setting is quite unique and the fact the crowds get to see the action up so close and personal makes this airshow high up on many people’s bucket lists," says Ed.
Ed has been impressed with the level of professional organisation at previous airshows. "It’s a very big event with tens of thousands of visitors, yet seems to run very smoothly. Obviously a lot of that comes down to Event Manager Mandy Deans, with whom I am looking forward to working with to take Warbirds to the next level," says Ed.
He concedes the job will not be without its challenges. "There wouldn’t be a major event in this country that is not finding the new economic environment challenging. However, we have 24 years of history behind us and a brand which is recognized in aviation circles around the world as being one of the best," says Ed. We need to continually tell our story and sell our event to people in our region, our country and globally, he says.
"One of my first jobs will be to further strengthen our existing relationships with the local community and local organisations, without which it would just not be possible to run Warbirds Over Wanaka.
We also need to work closer with organisations like Lake Wanaka Tourism and Tourism New Zealand to help us take the Warbirds Over Wanaka story to the world. Thousands of international visitors already come to Warbirds and we need to grow that market."
Ed says Warbirds Over Wanaka is good for Wanaka, the region and New Zealand with an economic impact report indicating a direct benefit from each airshow of at least $30 million.
Warbirds Over Wanaka Community Trust chairman, Murray Cleverley, is excited by the appointment. "Ed has an infectious love of Wanaka and the local region. We believe he is the right person to champion our event at home and around the world."
Former CEO Roger Clark has enjoyed his time in charge at Warbirds Over Wanaka. "It’s one of those events that gets in your blood and it’s been a privilege to have been involved," says Roger. He is confident the airshow will continue to go from strength to strength.
Warbirds Over Wanaka is held every second Easter at Wanaka Airport. The next airshow is being held on April 18, 19, 20th 2014 and tickets will go on sale from February 2013.
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