Pushing a 1970 replica SE5A plane out of a hangar at
Wanaka's National Transport and Toy Museum are (from left)
staff members Bevan Duke and Phil Roxby, volunteer Ross
MacFadgen and museum curator Jason Rhodes. The hangar has
been cleared of hundreds of vehicles and other items for a
ski industry trade show next week.
One by one they were wheeled out - an endless procession
of classic cars, planes, military memorabilia, stationary
engines, buggies, boats, motorbikes and more.
The curious collection emerged slowly but purposefully
through immense hangar doors and out into daylight for its
two-yearly sojourn from static display duties inside a 2000sq
m shed at Wanaka's National Transport and Toy Museum.
Over several days during the past fortnight, museum curator
Jason Rhodes and a handful of helpers have carried out a
spring clean of epic proportions as they removed hundreds of
vintage vehicles and other treasures from the vast clear-span
shed at Wanaka Airport in preparation for the New Zealand
Snow Industries Federation Trade Fair next week. It will be
the third time the museum hangar has hosted the event, which
is held in alternate years in Taupo.
National Transport and Toy Museum staff member Bevan Duke
(left) and curator Jason Rhodes move some of the
miscellaneous military items out of the hangar. Photos by
When the Otago Daily Times
visited the hangar this
week, the clear-out was nearing completion, although a handful
of relics still sat clustered in corners. The remaining cars
were being towed outside and slotted neatly into their assigned
parking spaces, which had been "mentally mapped out" by Mr
Rhodes, and an ancient-looking engine of unidentified origin
was hoisted on to a forklift. A pair of loose-limbed mannequins
clad in camouflage gear hitched a ride over the shoulders of Mr
Rhodes and museum employee Bevan Duke, while a retired "Go
Slow" road sign waited to join the other items already out on
the museum lawn.
There, they will be stored temporarily out in the elements,
flanking the gravel driveway along which the trade show
exhibitors will begin ferrying their wares today.
The sheer logistics of the relocation exercise are
mind-boggling, particularly for anyone who has viewed the
interior of the hangar - which houses only part of the
museum's collection - before and after its trade show
For most of the year, it has barely an inch of floor space
left in which museum visitors can manoeuvre, with cars parked
bumper to bumper, door to door, snug against the fuselage and
under the wings of aircraft.
Some are steeped in history, such as the World War 1 Rover
Sunbeam ambulance closing in on its 100th birthday.
However, all are sufficiently full of character to be
While the hangar's hoard was liberated from its cramped
quarters, museum staff took the opportunity to give each
vehicle a thorough wash and tune-up to ensure a "clean bill
of health", Mr Rhodes said.
"We give them a run, clean them up, check them over and see
what's needing to be done.
"Brakes might need doing or carburettors might need cleaning
out. Just from sitting, there's jobs that might need
As he explains this, a set of dirt-encrusted mud flaps on a
nearby army jeep catch his eye, and he makes a mental note to
target that area during the two-yearly water blasting.
Appearing remarkably unfazed by the upheaval, Mr Rhodes
explained the transfer of goods from outside to under cover
again would not be such smooth sailing. The hangar would also
have to accommodate the museum's recently acquired Fokker
Friendship plane, a 1947 Chrysler New Yorker and several new
Cadillacs. However, some vehicles would be reassigned to
other museum buildings to create room for the new arrivals.
"Pulling it out's the easy part. It generally takes a week to
pull it out, but it will take probably a good three to four
weeks to put it all back."
• About 200 cars, trucks and military vehicles
• More than 100 motorcycles
• Three aircraft
• Three gigs
• Three boats
• 25 stationary engines
• Miscellaneous automobilia