Motorhome owners rally

An invasion of motorhomes is set to descend on Mosgiel this week.

The New Zealand Motor Caravan Association's National Easter Rally is being held at the Mosgiel A&P Showgrounds from April 17 to 21.

Rally control team member Brian Wolff, of Sawyers Bay, said about 600 motorhomes/caravans and 1200 people were expected.

Some had already arrived in the area and it was expected many would stick around to explore afterwards, Mr Wolff said.

The influx of motorhomes would bring an injection of cash into the Mosgiel and Dunedin areas.

Mr Wolff projected an economic boost to the Taieri of about $750,000.

This was an update to a previous estimate of $500,000.

The event was the result of two years of organisation.

An 1800sqm marquee at the showgrounds will serve as the rally's ''base''.

Workshops around motorhome ownership would be offered, and Mr Wolff was keen to point out association members were ''responsible''.

The rally came amid concern about the behaviour of ''freedom campers'', but by far most in the association were in ''self-contained'' motorhomes, he said.

''Unfortunately, we all get lumped in the same pot.''

He hoped the rally would help give motorhome owners a better name.

Part of the rally's organisation involved setting up a number of places in Dunedin and Mosgiel for members to park before and after the rally.

The organisers had also liaised closely with the Dunedin City Council.

''We have had regular meetings with the council and they have been very supportive of the whole thing,'' Mr Wolff said.

One of the workshops at the event would be on how to be a responsible pet-owner while on the road and some 97 pets were expected at the rally.

Entertainment, including dancing, would also offered every evening and buses to Mosgiel and Dunedin would be provided.

Optional side trips being offered included Taieri Gorge railway excursions, a four-wheel-drive rally and a visit to Outram's vintage machinery museum.

Most of the members were over the age of 50, due to the cost of buying a motorhome, but there were also some younger families.

The attraction of buying a motorhome was largely to do with the freedom that came with it.

''You can stop where you want to stop.''

vaughan.elder@odt.co.nz

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