I don't believe that any of us at the time had any realisation of the hugeness of the contribution that MOTAT and co-ordinator KEN NEWLAND were making to the lives of the young people who attended MOTAT Aviation Gateway Programme. Ken’s hands-on training empowered so many young adults for a future in an engineering world and in particular took these school-aged teen students on a path that revealed skills that they themselves had no idea they had. Ken’s light manner of delivery and his ability to impart the knowledge required, allied with his own demonstrations of personal manual dexterity (honed through years of working experience) inspired and encouraged all of the Gateway attendees.
I do remember Ken telling me, with no small degree of justified pride, of one young lady who achieved an engineering apprenticeship with Air New Zealand as a direct result of the Gateway Programme. She beat several boys to that competitive entry apprenticeship and credited her success to Ken by his awakening her dormant skills to an understanding of the art and craft metal work. I’m certain there are many similar stories and we at MOTAT Aviation would be most pleased to hear them. Ken really enjoyed his work and donated priceless input into the future of those Gateway attendee successes.
There are also many anonymous examples of Ken's skills in the ADH. Skills which have contributed to and directly saved aeroplanes from disappearing into a pile of corrosive aluminium oxide.
This very highly skilled work will always remain anonymous, known only to the persons themselves and perhaps a few who worked alongside them on a particular project during that essential era of restoration. An era which was so necessary to save the often vandalised, time weary and weather ravaged aeroplanes from the scrap dealers.
Ken, along with the many other ADH Aviation Engineers, many of whom have also since died, contributed to the restoration of most of the aeroplanes now on display in the ADH bringing them back to their visual magnificence and donating an availability for others to share in their beauty of form and function.
There are the other MOTAT sections with equally devoted volunteers who have worked with their alternative skills of equal value and importance to the success of MOTAT over the last sixty or so years, some have also died this year. We mourn their passing also and honour their legacy in the artefacts that they have helped to save for the benefit of the generations to come. They may remain anonymous, becoming but grey ghosts who are fading slowly from memory - but their contribution, their legacy will live on forever.
- By Henry Swan -
The MOTAT Society would like to acknowledge the passing of MOTAT Society members Ken Newland, David Martin, Tom Cotter, Derek Albrechtson, and Roy Montrowe and recognise their contribution to the Museum.