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Pleasant Point is a small town in South Canterbury, on the South Island of New Zealand.


Had Richard Pearse been able to make a controlled landing in a field instead of on top of hedges some time in 1902 or 1903, Pleasant Point, rather than Kitty Hawk, would probably be remembered as the place where man first flew in a heavier than air machine.

While historical accounts [1] state Pearse flew his machine at Waitohi, which is about half way between Temuka and Pleasant Point, in May 1903, the actual take off and landing of a long and reasonably controlled flight was along the banks of the Opihi River, which is closer to Pleasant Point than Waitohi. Although the flight ended prematurely, due to engine failure, this was apparently 6 months before the Wright Brothers were to achieve something similar. In later years, Pearse himself claimed he only successfully flew in 1904, however eyewitness accounts and other historical evidence place his many of his witnessed flights as occurring during 1902 and 1903. Because Pearse didn't seek publicity for his flying activities or dispute the Wright Brothers claim to fame, by the time Pearse's achievements became widely known, the Wright Brothers had been acknowledged as the first to demonstrate that powered flight in a heavier than air machine was practical.

Get in[edit]

On State Highway 8, inland from Timaru.

Get around[edit]


  • Richard Pearse Memorial (On the roadside). A replica model of one of Pearse's aircraft on top of a pole at about the height that Pearse might have achieved in flight.







Go next[edit]

Routes through Pleasant Point
Lake TekapoFairlie  NW State Highway 8 NZ.svg SE  Timaru

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