George West Neighbourhood - Sold
Neighbourhood named after first Māori pilot in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).
This neighbourhood commemorates Leading Aircraftsman George Henry West, who, in 1936, became the first Māori pilot to enter the RNZAF. George West's family is of Ngāi Tahu descent.
Born in Bluff on 17 March 1914, George Henry West was educated at the Bluff Public School and Southland Technical College where he showed particular ability in mechanics. He was one of the first to win a scholarship entitling him to free flying tuition at the Southland Aero Club.
He tragically died on 12 May 1939, following injuries received from an aircraft accident at Wigram on 11 May 1939. The accident occurred during a night-training flight where his student pilot undershot the landing causing the aircraft to crash. Following the accident George's body travelled back to Bluff and he lies in Bluff cemetery.
George West’s photo and a patu he carved, can be seen in the Air Force Museum of New Zealand.
Courtesy of the Air Force Museum of New Zealand
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