The Tribune (NZ) - - WELCOME - RICHARD MAYS The gypsy Fair runs from 9am – 5pm Satur­day and Sun­day, while the new Hair lets it all hang down in the Abbey Au­di­to­rium from May 19.

25 years of Gypsy Fair sets up on the rail­way land this Satur­day and Sun­day.

Why is the back of Gavin Mcken­zie’s 1949 con­verted Ford bus all ‘‘Hairy’’?

The Gypsy Fair vet­eran of 21 years is back in town with the rest of the rovers this week­end to mark 25 years of the trav­el­ling craft mar­ket. As for the ‘‘Hairy’’ back end of his bus, well, that’s a bit of a trip down mem­ory lane.

The Hair mu­ral dates from 1996, when his bus was used to help pub­li­cise the very last pro­duc­tion staged in the old Palmer­ston North Opera House, where Farm­ers now is on Church St.

The show was Palmer­ston North Op­er­atic’s (now Abbey Mu­si­cal Theatre) Hair, the ‘tribal rock mu­si­cal’ di­rected by Robert Rim­mer. The pro­duc­tion fea­tured Mar­i­lyn By­ers Ali a for­mer singer with Amer­i­can 60s trib­ute group The Crys­tals and a guest per­former at the In­ter­na­tional Fes­ti­val of the Arts in Welling­ton that year. An­other prom­i­nent guest per­former was Dal­va­nius Prime – he of the Patea Maori Club’s smash hit Poi-E.

‘‘They used the bus as a mo­bile bill­board to help pro­mote the show,’’ Gavin re­calls.

He’s sur­prised that the mu­ral on his house-bus has lasted 20 years as it was only ap­plied with what­ever was around. ‘‘Poster paint in places,’’ he reck­ons.

To find out that there is an­other pro­duc­tion of the show in the wings has also taken him by sur­prise.

Gavin says he ended up with all sorts of para­pher­na­lia from the 1996 pro­duc­tion, though where it all is now, he’s not sure.

The sea­soned ‘trav­el­ling man’ be­gan as a ‘week­end gypsy’. In the RNZAF sta­tioned at Ohakea, Gavin would ditch his uni­form for more colour­ful and laid­back garb

‘‘Sixty-seven years old, and she’s still go­ing strong.’’ Gavin Mcken­zie

dur­ing his time off and leave, un­til he left to sell hand­crafts full­time on the gypsy fair cir­cuit.

His 1949 Ford bus is a one-off pro­to­type, with the chas­sis from Canada and the coach­work com­pleted in Napier.

‘‘Sixty-seven years old, and she’s still go­ing strong.’’

Gavin has ‘steam-punked’ the in­te­rior, and th­ese days, runs a shoot­ing gallery.


Does my Hair look big in this? It’s pure co­in­ci­dence that Gavin McKen­zie’s vin­tage Gypsy Fair bus turns up as a new pro­duc­tion of the ‘tribal rock opera’ pre­pares to hit the stage.

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