History of all NZ National Meets.
The Model A Ford National Rallies in New Zealand
The first Model A Ford club in New Zealand was founded in December 1965 when a small group of Canterbury Vintage Car Club members joined the Model A Ford Club of America and formed its first overseas chapter, the Canterbury NZ Chapter, also known as the Canterbury Model A Club. This club has a current membership of about ninety.
Over the years further clubs were established around the country –
1972 The North Island Model A Ford Club, Auckland
1972 The Top of the South A’s, Nelson
1989 The Mid Island Model A Club, Marton (No longer active)
1992 Foveaux Ford A Restorers Club, Invercargill
1992 Hawkes Bay Model A Club, Napier
1995 Rebel A’s, nationwide
2001 Wellington Model A Club, Wellington (No longer active)
In December 1977 the Canterbury NZ Chapter organised NZ’s first large Model A rally to celebrate the car’s fiftieth anniversary. Invitations were mailed to all known owners, resulting in 120 Model A’s gathering for a weekend of motoring and social events. Entries included a Model AA fire engine and two Model AA trucks. Participants came from throughout the South Island and several from the North Island.
First National Meet 1984 Motueka 28 Entries 22 Cars
The Top of the South A’s hosted the first National Meet over Easter weekend 1984. There was little publicity for this event and therefore only local support. There was an international flavour, however, as an American couple on holiday in NZ attended. The format included a street parade, a tour to Motueka, field events, car judging and a prizegiving dinner.
Second National Meet 1989 Blenheim 125 Entries 116 Cars
The Canterbury NZ Chapter chose Blenheim as the venue for the second National Meet. It was promoted as being a 22km drive from Wellington and consequently thirty North Island owners brought their vehicles south. There were fifteen different body styles, all of them Model A’s and they came from as far away as Whangarei and Invercargill. Two couples travelled from Australia, bringing with them a unique Model A boat-tail speedster.. The format included a public display, a competitive trial, car judging, wine tour and social gatherings each evening. A group photo of all 116 vehicles was taken at the lunch stop in Seddon. Prizes and trophies were provided by several commercial sponsors including Ford, Firestone and BP.
Third National Rally 1993 Hamilton 214 Entries 192 Cars
The North Island Model A Ford Club attracted a large entry to their National Rally including the first contingent from USA. As well as 24 American couples, there were eight from Australia and one from Canada. The Saturday trial took in the Waikato countryside and finished at Te Aroha where the business community had excluded all other vehicles from the main street. An engine building contest was held during the public display at the Te Rapa racecourse on Easter Sunday. Teams of four from each club raced the clock to assemble an engine and start it. The evening events included a “Social and Dance”.
Fourth National Rally 1997 Nelson 223 Entries 180 Cars
The Top of the South A’s followed the pattern of the previous Meets with social gatherings each evening, touring on Friday, a trial on Saturday, public display and car judging on Sunday and a farewell breakfast on Monday. New activities included technical seminars presented by USA entrants and a speed event. The Hubley Derby was introduced to New Zealand. Scale model cars use gravity to race down a sloping track, two at a time in a knockout competition. A group of more than 70 Americans based their New Zealand tour around the Nelson rally. There were also entries from Canada and Australia.
Fifth National Convention 2001 Wanganui 142 Entries 111 Cars
The Mid Island Model A Club followed the Easter weekend format based at the Wanganui Racecourse. The weekend’s events were opened by the local Member of Parliament, Jill Pettis. International support continued with 19 entries from Australia and six from USA. The growing interest in era clothing was evident with a well-attended seminar for the ladies presented by an American expert. There was friendly competition between clubs in the Hubley Derby, the Engine Build race and a tyre pump race. Prizes and trophies were awarded to the winners of the various events including concours (car judging), rally, speed event, gymkhana and fashion. Sponsors ranged from Air NZ and Shell Oil to the local bakery and pharmacy.
Sixth National Rally 2003 Invercargill 105 Entries 87 Cars
The Foveaux Ford A Restorers Club, claiming to be the southernmost Model A club in the world, attracted a smaller entry, probably due to the distance from the North Island. The pattern was now established with a National held every second year and alternating between the islands. The Southerners had arranged a full programme of events and socials, with motoring events based at the A & P Showgrounds and socials at the Ascot Park Hotel. Teretonga Raceway proved an excellent venue for the speed event. The highlight was the Official Opening Address by the mayor of Invercargill, Tim Shadbolt.
Seventh National Rally 2005 Hastings 145 Entries 130 Cars
The Hawkes Bay Model A Club based its Easter event at the Hawkes Bay Race Course in Hastings. The opening duties were performed by Paul Holmes and the Sunday rally started after morning tea at his homestead, Mana Lodge. There were four entries from USA and eleven from Australia. A special effort was made to show off the local countryside during the rally and with alternative self-guided tours for those not involved in judging, car games or the swap meet. The Art Deco atmosphere in Hawkes Bay was a catalyst for the era fashion fans.
Eighth National Meet 2007 Christchurch 140 Entries 123 Cars
The Canterbury Model A Club hosted the 2007 gathering at Riccarton Racecourse over Easter weekend. As usual, there was a strong overseas following, eight Australian couples and another eight from the US. Ford Motor Co supported the event by displaying its 1903 Model A, the oldest Ford in New Zealand. The popular speed event was held at Ruapuna Raceway where cars raced against the clock in standing and flying quarter miles. The competitive trial covered about 100 miles on the Canterbury plains. The Meet was opened by the mayor of Christchurch, Garry Moore, and closed by a future mayor, Bob Parker. A public day at Ferrymead Historic Park attracted a good attendance and gave the entrants a chance to see the various museums around the park.
Ninth National Rally 2009 Taupo 107 Entries 101 Cars
The North Island Model A Club chose a central location for the 2009 National Rally. There was a full social programme starting with a Noggin and Natter on the Thursday evening and a dinner each of the following three evenings and a farewell breakfast on the Monday. The ladies enjoyed a hat making seminar while the men were attending a tool seminar. The motoring events included a speed event on Friday, judging and gymkhana on Saturday and a rally on Sunday. There was a choice of three rally routes, short, long and off-road, each offering opportunities to see little-known parts of the district. A chassis assembly event, swap meet, public display and fashion judging were all well supported. Once again there was international interest, with five Australian entries and on from Canada.
Tenth National Tour 2011 Upper South Island 121 Entries 114 Cars
The 2011 National was a departure from the established format. The Nelson based Rebel A Ford Club decided on a relaxed tour of the upper South Island over seven days, beginning and ending in Nelson and with stops in Blenheim, Kaikoura, Christchurch and Greymouth. The car judging and field events were held at Christchurch and the speed event at Victoria Park racecourse in Greymouth. On some days the entrants were given a choice of route such as the inland Kaikoura road. There was a rough route choice out of Blenheim over a steep and narrow track through the Blairich Station however persistent rain made the track impassable and it took until mid-afternoon to extract over fifty cars, backing down to a turning point, towing up muddy slopes and through creeks. Many drivers claimed it was an enjoyable day’s motoring! The tour format had attracted two American clubs and consequently there were twenty entries from the US and Canada and seventeen of those brought vehicles with them. The tour concluded with a prizegiving dinner at Nelson.
Eleventh National Rally 2013 Coromandel Peninsula 98 Entries 96 Cars
The 11th National Rally saw us heading for The Coromandel and the format was a seven-day tour around the area. Day one: We started in Thames taking in the local sights and attraction followed by drinks and an official welcome and dinner in the evening. Day Two: We were off to the Leadfoot Fesival, and others when to the Beach Hop Festival in Whangamata. We managed to fit both in and they were amazing events and would loved to had spent more time there. Then off to Whitianga for which was our HQ for the next few days. Day Three: Public Car Show Day, Concours Judging and Gymkhana and some took a forestry tour. We all met up for drinks and a meal at the bowling club in the evening. Day Four: Off to Coromandel all dress in our 1930’s era fashion, the town was closed of only allowing Model A’s in and lots of the local were dressed in era fashion to add to the great atmosphere. We also visited a Gold Stamping Battery plus a tour on the Driving Creek Railway. Another attraction that is a must to see if in the area. After a full days sightseeing it was back to base for drinks and tea. Day Five: Another day of tour the local sights including Hot Water Beach, Cooks Beach and many others. We enjoyed a free night to rest and catch up. Day Six: Move out and head to Whangamata and another chance to see the Beach Hop event and local sites the Era Fashion Night and meal in the evening. Day Seven: On the road again back to Thames via Waihi Gold Mine, Paeroa and get ready for the final dinner and prizegiving. Day Eight: Farewell Breakfast
Twelveth National Meet 2015 Wanaka, Central Otago 336 Entries 155 Cars
What a great choice of location “Wanaka” for the 12th National Meet, the fantastic backdrop of the Southern Alps and the Lake in the foreground saw 336 people and 155 Model A Fords converge on the Lake Wanaka Events Centre all set for a great week of motoring. Day One: Started with Concours Judging in the morning and a timed speed event in the afternoon, and time to check out the local attractions. In the evening was the Formal Opening by the local Mayor followed by a buffet sit down meal. Day Two: We had two options, either a tour through the Dingleburn or the alternative a tour to Tarras, Bendigo and Cromwell followed by an evening meal at Lake Hawera Hotel. Day Three: This tour today was one of my highlights of the week, we headed up the Cardona Valley and turn off onto the “Race to the Sky “ road and what a road, 14.5ks of gravel with 135 turns starting at 450m and finishing at 1500 meters above sea level. At the top is the SHPG (Southern Hemisphere Proving Grounds) www.shpg.co.nz after a drive around the grounds and a talk explaining all about the operation we headed down the hill to Wanaka for a High Tea in the afternoon. Day Four: Today was a busy day with the main rally from Wanaka to Upper Clutha, Cromwell, Queenstown, Arrowtown the up over the Crown Range to Cardona and returning to Wanaka. In the evening the Hubley Derby Challenge was held followed by a BBQ tea. Day Five: We had a choice of two routes, Tour through the Matukituki Valley or The Thomson Gorge Track. Both were great scenic Model A motoring roads that everyone enjoyed. In the evening we enjoyed a meal at HQ. Day Six: Open public display day at Penbrooke Park followed by a Formal Tea and prizegiving. Day Seven: Farewell breakfast.
Thirteenth National Meet 2017 Napier 155 Enties 148 cars
The 13th National Rally commenced on the Thursday evening at the Taradale Club with registration, Meet & Greet plus drinks and nibbles with an optional night run for those interested. Day One: Concours judging and optional self-drive scenic tours of the Napier attractions. In the evening Hubley Derby heats followed by the Meet Official Opening and dinner. Day Two: We all meet at Cape Kidnappers for the Main competitive Rally followed by a Depression Dinner and drinks in the evening. Day Three: The Show & Shine public display and Gymkhana was held in the morning with a tour to a local vintage tractor collection in the afternoon. We all met at the Taradale Club for the evening meal and prizegiving. Day Four: We all met again at the Taradale Club for the Farewell breakfast.
Fourteenth Nation Meet 2019 TeAnau 150 entries 150 cars
The 14th National Meet saw us back in the Scenic Fiordland area of the South Island based at the Fiordland Community Events Centre in Te Anau. Again we had great support from the North Island Model A’ers that had enjoyed the Wanaka Meet returned to enjoy more of our rugged mountainous scenery. Day one: Registration with drinks and nibbles followed by the Official Opening from Sir Hannibal Hayes. Day Two: Lake to Lake Rally saw 150 Model A’s travel from Te Anau to Walter Peak Station on the edge of Lake Wakatipu, while we were the TSS Earnslaw (a 1912 Edwardian Twin Screw Steamer) came in loaded with tourists. We had a free evening to go out into the town to enjoy the local cuisine. Day Three: Started with Concours Judging, followed by public display and gymkhana. Back to the Community Centre for the Hubley Derby, drinks and dinner. Day Four: Most of us set of for the drive to visit South Arm and others through the Homer Tunnel to Milford Sound for the day. The final Dinner and prizegiving was held in the evening. Day Five: Farewell Breakfast.
Fifteenth National Meet 2021 Gisborne 113 Entries 113 cars
This was held 28th March - 4th April 2021, Sunday 28th started with registration followed by a Wine & Cheese evening. Monday was Concours Day and those not involved set about touring the town & shops. A Welcoming evening was held for all at the events centre. Tuesday was full days motoring scenic tour with the Hubly Derby racing held in the evening. Wednesday was the competitive Rally with BBQ lunch and a visit to a car and truck collection. That evening we had a Hoe Down Country Evening. Friday (Good Friday) we had a public display with field events and the Chassis Assembly Challenge. Saturday saw most of us doing Harbour Boat Tours and Steam train rides. In the evening we had the Awards Dinner. Sunday it was the"Farewell Breakfast" then we all headed home and looking forward to getting together in Methven 2023.
Sixteenth National Meet 2023 Methven 123 Entries 123 cars.
This was held from Saturday 4th March till Friday the 10th March in the countery township of Methven in Mid Canterbury. The event was based in the Mount Hutt Function Centre and was all dress up in 30's era decor. Registration, nibbles and Hubley practice was held on the Saturday evening. We awoke to torential rain on the Sunday morning, fortunatly the Concours judging was organisedf to be held in a sheltered workshop but the public display and gymkhana were cancelled. Sunday evening was the Official Opening and dinner followed by the Hubley racing complete with time displays. The new electonic timed three lane track was a hit and everone enjoyed the evening. Monday morning saw a great improvment in the weather and we set off for a tour of Bruce McIllroy Bentley & Rolls Royce Heritage workshops followed by a picnic lunch on the lawn in brilliant sunshine. We the drove to Winchmore Gardens for " High Tea" what a great site to see almost everyone in afternoon Era Fashion. Tuesday saw us l;eaving from the Methven Racecourse for the competitve rally to Terrace Station Hororata followed by a picnic lunch and scaveger identification hunt around the farm sheds. A 1960's themed night with meal was held in the evening. Wednesday was a free day with many choosing to drive up the Mount Hutt Ski Field road to enjoy the fantastic view over the Canterbury Plains to the sea. Others enjopyed the local hot pools or visited Ashburton for a bit of shopping. Thursday we all met at the racecourse for a trip to Lake Heron for lunch and in the evening the Awards Cereomony was held followed by a formal dinner. Friday morning we all met at the Mt Hutt Function Centre for the Farewell Breakfast. This was a fantastic event with almost half of the entrants travelling from the North Island plus two from Great Britian and another couple from Australia.
Sevententh National Meet 2025 Masterton 23rd to 28th February 2025
Planning is well underway for this event and the dates have been brought forward to Febuary so as to enable entrants to incorporated the Wings over Wairapa AirShow and if you are really keen to have a great two weeks away you can include the Art Deco Weekend in Napier 13th to 16th February.
Eighteenth National Meet 2027 Top of the South Island.
The West Coast, Nelson and Blenhiem have started to plan this event.
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