Bamboo Dick

I was having a conversation with Chris this afternoon, and it turned to this year being the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brother’s flight at Kitty Hawk. Au contraire, piped in Chris, some nutball down in Australia or New Zealand flew his airplane before the Wright Brothers. His name was Richard Pearse, from New Zealand, also known as Bamboo Dick. Chris said he saw it on a documentary about a New Zealand filmmaker who caught the event on camera and that it actually proved Pearse flew months before Wilbur and Orville’s famous flight.

Well, Chris was partly true. The documentary he mentioned was Forgotten Silver, a parody by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson. The subject of Forgotten Silver, a heretofore unknown Kiwi filmmaker called Colin McKenzie, was totally fictional. Chris was duped, like much of New Zealand, by the serious tone of the mockumentary.

However, it appears that Bamboo Dick was the genuine article. When I visit New Zealand I intend to research this further. A model of his monoplane is supposed to be on display in Auckland.