Coast author pays homage to early aviator

The landing of the Awarua flying boat on its delivery flight from England to New Zealand in 1940 with Oscar in the cockpit.


Oscar Garden started flying in his 20s and went on to be one of TEAL’s top pilots.


One of NZ’s early aviators is the subject of the book A Tale of One Man’s Love of Flying, written by his daughter Dr Annamaria Garden, of Waiwera, and published this month.

The biography describes pioneer and innovator Oscar Garden’s fascinating flying career. It is a personal look at his optimistic, determined and brave nature, and his admirable flying adventures.

The book includes anecdotes from personal interviews, namely from retired British Airways executive Eric Tucker, and Annamaria’s conversations with her father. Oscar died in 1991, aged 93 years, and Annamaria laments she didn’t start of the book while he was still alive.

“For brief moments, Oscar was part of history, which the numerous newspaper clippings attest to,” she says. “The book is part biography and part story, about a man who made an outstanding contribution to aviation and the success of TEAL during the flying-boat era.”

Oscar’s love of flying started in 1930 when he was in his 20s, after a chance remark that he should learn to fly by a passenger on board a ship bound for England.

It wasn’t long before he purchased a Gipsy Moth from Selfridges department store in London, named it Kia Ora and embarked on a dream to fly from England to Australia.

He was the fifth person to navigate this journey solo and the youngest pilot to complete the feat.

His joyriding took him to many places in the world including South Africa, and up through Africa to Palestine. While based in London, he joined British Airways and Imperial Airways, flying flying boats across the Empire. Finally, he came to rest in Auckland, after delivering the Awarua, the second of New Zealand’s flying boats used during World War II for communication and travel. Eventually, he became the chief pilot of TEAL, the forerunner of Air New Zealand.

When his flying days were over, Oscar retired to Kerikeri where he took up fruit growing and tomato growing.

The book includes around 20 original pages of Oscar’s logbooks, as well as many old photos from the Alexander Turnbull Library and MOTAT.

Annamaria, who spent the early years of her working life as an economist with Treasury, is the author of six books in the field of management psychology.


Win this book
Hibiscus Matters has one copy of A Tale of One Man’s Love of Flying to giveaway. To enter, ‘like’ Hibiscus Matters on Facebook and message us your name and daytime phone number, mentioning Love of Flying; or drop an entry into our office at 21 Florence Ave Ōrewa. Competition closes October 23. The book is published by Mary Egan Publishing (RRP $45).


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