Dannevirke – Freezing level low, hospitality high

Dannevirke Viking

Dannevirke, where the men are tit-tuggers and the women are horny. Top picture: Your typical final approach for Dannevirke’s runway 20, briefly glimpsed some years ago on one of Dannevirke’s clearer days by photographer Peter Scott

Dannevirke (population about 5600) is known for its Scandinavian heritage, which dates back to 1872 when 21 Danish and Norwegian families in search of an Arctic climate – and not amused to find that exiled Scots had beaten them to Dunedin – discovered the next-best place. They burrowed happily into the permafrost that lies a few kilometres east of the Ruahine Range. The settlers’ cemetery attracts visitors and the Gallery of History provides a good look at Dannevirke from the 1870s. Dannevirke also has a proud Maori history and at Makirikiri Marae there are interesting carvings in the Aotea meeting house.

Dannevirke Flying Club was founded in 1999 and the airfield where it’s based is close to the town’s throbbing CBD, with landmark supermarkets, Warehouse and ale houses. To get a sense of the town’s nightlife, bear in mind that a few years ago, Dannevirke’s historic council office was transformed into a brothel by a less-than-savvy entrepreneur. This redevelopment involved only a minor change of use under the Resource Management Act. But Madam’s bankruptcy swiftly followed, indicating that Dannevirke women are feisty, probably horny and can see off any competition. Either that, or the menfolk are up to their eyes in tits down at the milking parlour…

Just up the state highway lies the hamlet of Norsewood, arguably even colder than Dannevirke, curled up in an environment feared by the hardiest of trampers. This is an unusual village of two halves, divided by the state highway. On one side is the home of the Norsewear clothing company. On the other lies the main settlement, featuring a friendly pub and a really good cafe.

Dannevirke airfield, from the south-west. Picture by Peter Scott

Dannevirke’s runway (grass 02 and 20) is long, wide and easy, but be careful when approaching in frost. This warning applies to all but a few hours of the year. Be aware, too, that Dannevirke lies close to a broad and well-worn route for “international student pilots”. Unkindly, it has been dubbed the Tandoori Transit Lane, and you may hear some curious talk or unusual position reports on the radio.

The nearby Norsewood Gap is a favourite crossing point from west to east and back again. It should be handled with caution, particularly if a strong westerly or north-westerly is blowing.

Visitors will be impressed by improvements to the aero club’s barn (aka HQ), which have been ongoing for several years and now reach the staggering height of 100 millimetres above the original foundations, laid down as long ago as the turn of the last century.

Aero Club contacts: Gary Mitchmore on 027 544 8581 or or email the club at dannevirkeflyingclub@gmail.com. Gary lives at the beginning of the road to the aerodrome, so he hears most traffic and will turn up to welcome you – if he’s not elsewhere, doing his day job as the town dentist.

Weather web station: nzdv.avmet.nz

Landing fee: None

Taxi: None listed

Visitor information: Dannevirke info

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