Why go?

Sunday Star-Times - - WORLD FAMOUS IN NEW ZEALAND -

It’s a high street hard­ware and home­ware store – yet so much more than that. Yes, you can buy cake tins and lawn­mow­ers and screws, and the friendly staff will be happy to ad­vise you on your lat­est DIY project, but there’s an­other di­men­sion to this shop in In­ver­cargill’s Dee St.

Among many other use­ful items, Ernest Hayes in­vented the fenc­ing wire strainer we’re all fa­mil­iar with, and his sons in­her­ited his prac­ti­cal skills. The fam­ily store was founded in 1932, and it was a nat­u­ral ex­ten­sion from sell­ing tools and equip­ment to in­clud­ing dis­plays of vin­tage ma­chin­ery, in­clud­ing Ernest’s in­ven­tions, as well as a va­ri­ety of ve­hi­cles – most no­tably mo­tor­bikes once be­long­ing to Burt Munro. The un­doubted star of the col­lec­tion is the 1967 World Record-break­ing In­dian it­self.

Be­cause who could re­sist a selfie sit­ting in the World’s Fastest In­dian? The real, orig­i­nal mo­tor­bike is in­side a glass case, but there’s a replica of the cowl­ing, a prop used in the movie, that you can wrig­gle into to imag­ine you’re roar­ing across Utah’s Bon­neville Salt Flats at 184mph (296km), a record that still stands to­day.

There’s plenty of in­for­ma­tion about Munro’s achieve­ments and other items of his on dis­play, in­clud­ing a case full of home-made pis­tons la­belled ‘‘Of­fer­ings to the God of Speed’’.

Scat­tered around the shop, be­tween the shelves of saucepans, span­ners, tents and T-shirts, gifts and gum­boots, are many clas­sic and vin­tage cars and vans, with their se­duc­tive curves and shiny chrome, as well as lots of newer mo­tor­bikes and cars, built for rac­ing.

Be sure to give the cases of tools a good look too, es­pe­cially the spe­cialty ham­mers: for awk­ward places, ceil­ings, round corners, the rev­ersible, and the el­e­gant twin strike ham­mer. You’ll en­joy in­spect­ing the ‘‘E Hayes Spe­cial Fas­ten­ers’’ de­signed for ‘‘holes drilled crooked’’ or ‘‘predrilled holes that still don’t match’’.

In­sider tip

If it’s a chilly day (be­cause, South­land... ) you can help your­self to a com­pli­men­tary hot drink from the re­fresh­ment sta­tion, where you’ll also find an interesting brochure about the com­pany and its col­lec­tion.

On the way/nearby

If you have the taste for old mo­tor­bikes, visit Mo­tor­cy­cle Mecca in nearby Tay St: a beau­ti­ful art deco build­ing with two floors of clas­sic mo­tor­bikes, from a 1902 Peu­geot mo­tor­cy­cle to a 21st-cen­tury Simms Corbin Cus­tom. There are three­wheel­ers, Ves­pas, Har­leys and more in­clud­ing, proudly, a big dis­play of John Brit­ten mo­tor­bikes and a price­less mo­tor­cy­cle art col­lec­tion.

There’s also Trans­port World’s cars, trucks, Kom­bis, and do­mes­tic ma­chin­ery – and if you want to get hands-on, they’ll let you drive a gi­ant dig­ger at their Dig This op­er­a­tion. You can even smash up a car!

How much?

The E Hayes col­lec­tion is to­tally free. No pur­chase nec­es­sary.

Best time to go

Any time dur­ing nor­mal shop hours, seven days a week.

PHO­TOS: PAMELA WADE

E Hayes and Sons was founded in 1932.

The star of the col­lec­tion is the 1967 World Record-break­ing In­dian it­self.

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