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1989 The Mid Island Model A Club, Marton (No longer active)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2001 Wellington Model A Club, Wellington (No longer active)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 98 Cars
The North Island Model A Ford Club has modified the tour concept and designed a rally in the Coromandel district. Once again, the timing was set for the period just prior to Easter. The tour began in Thames, then four nights at Whitianga, a night at Whangamata and then back to Thames for the final night. This report still to be completed.
Twelveth National Meet 2015 Wanaka, Central Otago
This exciting event in one of New Zealands most scenic areas is being held just prior to Easter 2015.
Thirteenth National Meet 2017 Napier
Recently held during Easter 2017 approximatly 155 cars attended.
The 14th National Meet will be held in the week prior to Easter 2019 in Te Anau.
A Special "Thank You" to Garth Moore for the above article.