Wairarapa Balloon Festival to host Busby the Queen’s Guard

When the Wairarapa Balloon Festival takes place next month, it will feature a regal touch in the form of Busby the Queen’s Guard, a hot air balloon inspired by the Queen’s Guard, who are responsible for protecting the royal residences.

Busby, which was made by Bristol-based Cameron Balloons in 2017, will be visiting New Zealand for the first time. It will be piloted by Paul Burrows, who qualified to fly hot air balloons at only 17, making him the youngest pilot in Europe at the time. Since them, he has flown many other iconic balloons, such as Buster the Bulldog, the Kiwi Bird, and even one shaped like a pair of giant green underpants. He also become the first British pilot to fly a balloon in Vietnam.

Festival organiser Robyn Cherry-Campbell expressed her excitement at welcoming Busby and Burrows, saying:

“New Zealand is becoming a popular stop for experienced pilots on the circuit, and special shapes like Busby always excite the crowd and really add to the magic.”

The year’s event in Wairarapa, a region occupying the south-east corner of New Zealand’s North Island, marks 20 years of the annual event. Visitor’s will be able to watch early-morning launches for free around the region, as well as meet pilots at Te Kairanga Vineyard. Pilots will also give a fiery demonstration Carterton and Greytown with a ‘Burner Parade’.

There will also be a ticketed night glow event at Solway Showgrounds on 20th April. The festival will be taking place between April 18 to 22.

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