New Zealand Classic Car - - Contents -

As the cold weather starts to set in (was there a sum­mer?) and the car-show cal­en­dar be­gins to be less ac­tive, I thought it would be ap­pro­pri­ate to do jus­tice to an in­au­gu­ral event that took place this year on Banks Penin­sula — La Grande Auto Show, held on Sat­ur­day March 18, 2017, at the Recre­ation Ground in Akaroa.

The idea took shape when a pas­sion­ate group of in­di­vid­u­als and car en­thu­si­asts — in­clud­ing com­mu­nity-de­vel­op­ment ad­vi­sors — felt the need to raise funds for the re­place­ment of the Akaroa Health Hub, which is in­tended to suc­ceed the old hospi­tal that was dam­aged in the 2010 Can­ter­bury earthquake.

The La Grand Auto Show was a com­plete suc­cess. It brought to­gether many of Can­ter­bury’s top cars and al­lowed peo­ple of all ages full ac­cess to view the ve­hi­cles and meet their own­ers. There were fea­ture race cars and most ex­otic mar­ques from all pe­ri­ods. The event was so suc­cess­ful that the or­ga­niz­ers are now se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing mak­ing this an an­nual Akaroa event.

Just like the Art Deco Fes­ti­val in Napier, La Grande Auto Show was an event driven by pas­sion. It was great to see chil­dren and teenagers hav­ing fun. They got close to the cars, and one could see that, one day, these kids will be­come proud own­ers of their own clas­sics.

Themed events

We need more lo­cal events in­volv­ing clas­sic and vintage ve­hi­cles in New Zealand. We need com­mu­nity-de­vel­op­ment ad­vi­sors in ev­ery town and city, who are pas­sion­ate about their her­itage, to cre­ate a last­ing ef­fect in their com­mu­ni­ties. Akaroa has that French con­nec­tion, Napier has the art deco, Oa­maru has the Vic­to­rian con­nec­tion, and so on. There are so many small towns and vil­lages in New Zealand that could boost their economies through themed events.

A well-themed event will see peo­ple at­tend­ing from all over New Zealand and pos­si­bly from over­seas. This means busi­ness for a com­mu­nity, with vis­i­tors spend­ing on ac­com­mo­da­tion, cater­ing, lo­cal pro­duce and mer­chan­dise, sou­venirs, etc. Par­tic­i­pants and spec­ta­tors drop plenty of cash into small-town economies, and this should bring a sub­stan­tial pos­i­tive eco­nomic im­pact to ev­ery com­mu­nity, while broad­en­ing the in­ter­est in clas­sic and vintage ve­hi­cles.

Ev­ery event should be­come an in­te­gral part of a re­gion’s iden­tity, and, in New Zealand,

na­ture has been kind enough to pro­vide us with the ba­sic re­quire­ments. We have friendly cities, towns, and vil­lages; scenic coun­try roads; and beau­ti­ful walk­ways. These bless­ings aren’t just good for the peo­ple who live in those places but also for re­gional economies.

Our cul­ture

Clas­sic and vintage ve­hi­cles have an hon­oured place in our cul­ture, and for com­mu­ni­ties look­ing to up the ante, in terms of ad­ven­ture or eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, these ve­hi­cles should be con­sid­ered, be­cause they do con­trib­ute sig­nif­i­cantly to our economies.

For ex­am­ple, who would have thought that a pa­rade of clas­sic Amer­i­can cars could kick­start com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment in Waitara? Ameri­carna is, af­ter all, a tour­ing clas­sic car show. Host­ing Ameri­carna in Waitara is a great ex­am­ple of how com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment gath­ers mo­men­tum when there is an event to fo­cus on, es­pe­cially one which is guar­an­teed in­ter­na­tional cov­er­age! The fo­cus is on en­cour­ag­ing trade, as well as the par­tic­i­pa­tion of lo­cals. On the day, 400 clas­sic Amer­i­can cars cruise the main street as bands play, spot prizes get won, and a lo­cal MC rouses the crowds. The street is lined with en­ter­tain­ers, such as an Amer­i­can-themed clown on stilts and Amer­i­can-themed belly dancers; face pain­ters; food stalls (in­clud­ing hangi); over 30 mar­ket stalls; and per­for­mances by lo­cal chil­dren.

Build­ing on the skills of lo­cal res­i­dents, the power of lo­cal as­so­ci­a­tions, and the sup­port­ive func­tions of lo­cal in­sti­tu­tions, com­mu­ni­ty­de­vel­op­ment or­ga­niz­ers draw on ex­ist­ing com­mu­nity strengths to build a stronger, more sus­tain­able com­mu­ni­ties for the fu­ture.

In Waitara, to or­ga­nize the first Ameri­carna, that meant col­lab­o­ra­tion and co­or­di­na­tion, and us­ing the main street and its re­tail­ers, in­stead of the beach. It was the com­mu­nity-de­vel­op­ment ad­vi­sors who or­ga­nized a town meet­ing to see what re­tail­ers and busi­ness peo­ple wanted to do for Ameri­carna at­ten­dees. From this meet­ing, a busi­ness and pro­mo­tions as­so­ci­a­tion was born to cater for the event. With Ameri­carna as the cat­a­lyst, for the first time, all the Waitara re­tail­ers came to­gether to close the main street, set up mar­ket stalls, and cel­e­brate.

Schools and chil­dren also came to­gether with lo­cal busi­nesses to fundraise, as well as pro­vid­ing kapa haka groups, which per­formed powhiri and poro­poroaki for the guests. Lo­cal busi­nesses do­nated sound sys­tems and trucks for stages, while lo­cal ser­vice clubs pro­vided en­ter­tain­ment, mar­shalling, food, and cleanup crews af­ter­wards. Even lo­cal bands had the chance to show­case their tal­ent for US tele­vi­sion.

And what a suc­cess this all was! Waitara re­tail­ers had their big­gest trad­ing day on record, and pos­i­tive me­dia cov­er­age of a for­merly down-on-its-luck town reached across Taranaki, Aotearoa New Zealand, and the US. Hun­dreds of Waitara res­i­dents came out, proud of their town, to cel­e­brate to­gether. Great show — great com­mu­nity spirit!

Un­til next month, drive safely.

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