The Red Dot Map
Wanaka: A new initiative introduced for the 30th Anniversary Warbirds Over Wanaka Airshow has shown how truly international the event has become. Organisers provided an ‘International Marquee’ with visitors encouraged to use red dots to mark on a map of the world where they came from.
Event Manager, Mandy Deans, says while they knew that several thousand people travelled to Wanaka from overseas for the event every two years, they were impressed with just how widespread the appeal of the event is.
“We put the map up in the tent and gave visitors a red dot to signify where they came from in the world. The result was remarkable considering only a small proportion of the 50,000+ visitors over the three days actually made it to the marquee,” says Mandy.
The red dots show people from every continent were at the Airshow including some from far flung places.
The lead volunteer in the marquee was Central Otago woman, Jen Chamberlain, who was blown away by the response and by the amazing stories she heard from many of the international visitors.
“There was one person from the remote Norwegian island of Spitsbergen. This island has a population of less than 3,000 people and is home to the Doomsday Svalbard Vault which contains significant seeds of the world in storage. In the event of an apocalypse any survivors resilient enough to make it to the island can access the seeds to regrow rice, wheat and other staple foods.”
“There was another guy from Recife in Brazil who couldn’t believe there was another red dot already on his home town.”
“Then there was a self-made guy who had run away from home back in the UK at the age of 16, eventually ending up in Australia where today he owns his own airfield. By chance at the same time a young Australian boy who wants to learn how to fly was visiting the tent so they got talking and names and numbers were exchanged.”
Initially Jen wasn’t sure how the International Marquee would go down with Airshow visitors but says the reaction was unbelievable with some people coming back several times to see where dots had been placed since they were last there.
The next Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow will be held at Easter 2020 (10th, 11th and 12th April).