On 6th March 1914, New Zealand’s first cross country flight landed in Christchurch.
James William Humphrey Scotland was born in Auckland in 1891. After attending Kings College, he finished his education in England. It was here that he fell in love with aviation. He was the second New Zealander to get his pilot licence.
Upon his return to New Zealand, he mainly climbed into the cockpit to take part in air shows. Understandably, he jumped at the chance to take part in a grand commercial enterprise to increase New Zealanders interest in aviation. So, he took off from Invercargill, flying northwards, showing off his skills and love of flying for those on the watch out below. He landed in Gore – the first point to point flight in New Zealand. He continued on to Dunedin,Timaru and then landed in Christchurch on the 6th March 1914. It is believed that he brought mail with him.
Scotland also received another record just 19 days later by becoming the first New Zealand pilot to crash his plane. This happened in Newton Park while flying into Wellington. He was not hurt.
He served during WWI and returned home as one of the wounded. He soon became a familiar face around Wigram and continued to delight the crowds by taking to the skies. He moved to Australia during the 1920’s and died in 1963.
*image courtesy of Auckland Library – www.aucklandlibraries.govt.nz – AWNS-19140205-42-1 courtesy of Sir George Grey Special Collections.