George Bolt was a pioneer of commercial aviation in New Zealand and as such he made an outstanding contribution that assisted the local application of aerial technology. Bolt was both a trained mechanic and pilot who built and flew his first glider in 1911. He pioneered air mail services with flights to Dargaville, Thames and Whangarei.
During World War II he held the rank of Wing Commander with responsibility for repairs, maintenance and assembly of aircraft at Ohakea and Hobsonville air bases. After the war he was appointed Chief Engineer of TEAL (Trans Empire Airways Limited) the forerunner of Air New Zealand, a position he held until retirement in 1960. While past records can appear inconsequential, Bolt’s flight on 22 January 1919 to 3,400 ft. was an altitude record for Auckland.
Such achievements showed the possibilities for a new technology that others could use in productive endeavours. In a hilly country like New Zealand road and rail links were expensive to build and maintain. A dispersed and relatively sparse population made the viability of such transport links economically fragile. It was the use of pioneering aviation, such as Bolt’s, that revealed the possibilities. Aerial mapping to survey new routes, applications of bulk fertiliser and later efficient passenger transport were to have a significant impact on local economic development.
Died: 27 July 1963
aged 70 years
Block L Row 3 Plot 30