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Summer loving at Orewa

17 February 2017


The Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter Trust will have more money to fund rescues this year thanks to Hibiscus Rodders’ highly successful Beach Festival at Orewa.
Hundreds of cars and an estimated 50,000-plus people turned out for the Auckland Anniversary Weekend event (January 27–30), and throw stunning weather into the mix and you’ve got one of the most successful of the eight Orewa Beach Festivals to date.

Nearly 400 pre-’75 and/or American cars filled the Orewa Reserve at the main event on the Saturday, with excellent numbers also at the Friday evening meet-and-greet and drive-in movie at the reserve. This was followed by the NZV8-sponsored What’s Under Your Hood contest and the popular Sunday morning show ’n’ shine on the main street, which drew a record crowd of spectators.

Beach Festival Organizer Sharon Morris was extremely pleased with the event, saying, 
“It was wonderful to see so many people looking so happy. We have the perfect setting for the event here at Orewa, and we’ve had fabulous feedback, with spectators and car owners telling us they had a great time.”

Sharon is confident the event raised as much as, or possibly more than, last year’s record $35,000 for the Helicopter Trust. “We have hopefully bettered last year’s total, but we’ve yet to do a final count.”
A major contributor to the fundraising was the popular auction, where a range of donated goods raised a record $12,750.

Entrants travelled from as far away as New Plymouth and Kaitaia, and everywhere in-between. But it was local cars that won two of the festival’s top trophies. Hibiscus Rodders President’s Choice Trophy went to Orewa builder Mike Watkins’ gold 1949 Ford Single Spinner. He bought the car 11 years ago, at the age of 19. His sister, an exchange student in the USA at the time, spotted the car abandoned in a paddock.

Dairy Flat resident and car enthusiast Ross Tebbs won the Public’s Choice Trophy with his 1940 Ford pickup truck, which, unlike Mike’s car, came to New Zealand with beautiful paintwork. The sparkling purple truck was rebuilt in Los Angeles in the early 1990s, winning a major prize in a prestigious Detroit Ford show before being sold to a New York merchant banker, who Ross bought it from about two years ago.
“We did a bit of work tidying it up, but it’s the original paintwork — colour ‘rich plum’ — from the 1990s job,” says Ross, who owns Albany ITM. “Everything is pretty much as it was, but we’ve repolished everything underneath.”

Other trophy winners included former Hibiscus Rodders club member, and now Ruakaka resident, Melissa Nightingale, who won the House of Travel Trophy with her 1957 Chevrolet that she has owned for about five years. It hasn’t changed much since then, except that her husband Bob has put in a crate motor from the USA.

New Plymouth couple Gordon and Pauline Bourne took out the Protecta Insurance Trophy with their very rare custom-made Chevy combination (’57 front, ’58 mid-section, ’59 back, nicknamed 789), and East Auckland’s Ian Neary won the Westpac Helicopter Trophy with his 1959 Ford Fairlane Skyliner.
Over 2011 and 2012 he rebuilt the car, “and I’ve enjoyed it ever since.” Ian also owns a 1968 Plymouth GTX, which won the Best Muscle Car award in the What’s Under Your Hood contest.

This year’s Miss Hibiscus Vintage saw almost double the number of contestants from its debut last year, and 25 entrants wowed the crowd with their colourful ’50s and ’60s vintage fashion, hairstyles, and make-up. The winner — also last year’s winner — was Hanna Wain from Waitoki (vintage name Dariel Dearlove), with Torbay’s Gemma Overton (aka Gem Doll) in second place, and Alanna Pleasants (aka Lani Lyndelle), from Hatfields Beach, in third.
Another popular contest also in its second year was the V8 Chic Award for female car owners, won by Kelly Ross of Papakura with her bright magenta ’66 Plymouth Fury 111, which she has owned for a year. “I love that car,” says Kelly. “I enjoy grooming her, and I look after her. I cover her up, and don’t take her on bad roads. She’s my journey … she’s coming with me.”
Entry numbers for the V8 Chic contest also doubled from last year. Second place winner was Marie Forsyth with her Ford roadster. Third place went to Shari Woodward (Orewa), with her 2007 Ford Shelby Mustang, which she’s owned for four years.
Air Tahiti Nui and House of Travel’s popular USA getaway prize draw went to Northland visitor Brian Marsh of the Whangarei Hot Rod Club.