by George Clark
The 64th National Rally and annual general meeting of the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association will begin in Oamaru on March 6, to a Victorian or Steampunk theme.
New Zealand’s very first motorhome, the 1928 Reo Speedwagon bus, which was once owned by the founders of the NZMCA, Andy and Gladys Anderson, will be there for people to see.
Originally used as passenger and freight bus in Te Karaka, it later went on to be a bus for the Gisborne freezing works.
Mr Anderson bought the old bus in Gisborne and converted it to a motorhome, then started the NZMCA member.
It was collected from the Eastland Museum of Transport and Technology in 2016 and taken to a workshop at Hallright Plumbing, where a two and a-half-year restoration project was undertaken.
At this AGM, national president Bruce Stanger will step down after 20 years on the executive board, the last nine of which have been as president.
Treasurer Jenny Sargent said it was set to be a “spectacle of an event”.
“It is going to be big. People are coming for the whole weekend from right around New Zealand.”
South Canterbury last hosted the National Rally at Caroline Bay in 2005.
“Close to 650 vans have registered so far. We have entertainment every night. Workshops, raffles, trade and food stalls. I cannot wait to share it with everyone.”
Tours to Riverstone Castle and Parkside Quarry will be popular. A shuttle bus will take participants in and out of town.
The national rally and AGM will be held at Oamaru Racecourse, March 6 to 8.