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Women aviators descend on Hamilton for rally, with visual navigation prize sponsored by Airways

05 Jun 2023

The 2023 NZAWA Rally draws women in aviation together from around New Zealand for a long weekend of competition, education and camaraderie – with guests from Australia and Papua New Guinea.

This year’s Airways VFR Enroute Competition prize – which tests the skills of fixed-wing pilots using visual flying rules – was won by NZAWA President Margaret Wright of Wellington, with Emily Lord of Hāwera taking second place. Airways’ Hamilton Chief Controller Scott Cowley presented the trophy.

Meanwhile, Gisborne-based Airways air traffic controller Tuna Cheung won the Jessica Rose Trophy for capturing the true spirit of airwomen over the rally weekend.

Mrs Wright says she was surprised to win one of the event’s air navigation prizes but even more delighted by the success of the rally.

“The NZAWA attracts women who’re involved in all aspects of aviation, from fixed-wing, glider, helicopter and microlight pilots to parachutists, air traffic controllers and engineers. They might be involved professionally or recreationally.

"They range from beginners to veterans – the oldest here this weekend are in their 80s and 90s, and the youngest are in their teens. What we have in common is the love of aviation, and the NZAWA Rally is a chance to get together, support one another and have a lot of fun,” she says.

Airways New Zealand’s General Manager Commercial and Partnerships, Jamie Gray, says the country’s air traffic management provider is delighted to sponsor an event that encourages more women to get into aviation and to excel.

“It’s exciting to see the way this event fosters both excellence in aviation and bonds among women in the sector. Their enthusiasm is catching.

“The Airways VFR Enroute Competition encourages safety and precision in air navigation. Our congratulations to all the rally-goers for the skills they’ve shown,” he says.

Airways judges the Airways VFR Enroute Competition on criteria including accurate flight planning, compliances with visual position reporting rules, and radio telephone phraseology procedures on a flight of over 100 nautical miles enroute to the rally.

The full list of competition and scholarship winners at the 2023 NZAWA Rally will be posted on the NZAWA website.


Airways New Zealand’s Hamilton Chief Controller Scott Cowley presents
NZAWA President Margaret Wright with the Airways VFR Enroute Competition trophy
at the 2023 NZAWA Rally.


Gisborne-based Airways air traffic controller Tuna Cheung with the Jessica Rose
Trophy, presented to a participant in the 2023 NZAWA Rally who captures the true
spirit of airwomen.