Bronz toy run keeps onlookers guessing

Phil Herriott, of Dunedin, wears his  Muppet helmet as he rides his Harley-Davidson into the...
Phil Herriott, of Dunedin, wears his Muppet helmet as he rides his Harley-Davidson into the Octagon for the annual Bronz Toy Run yesterday. Photo: Peter McIntosh
As the distant  roar drew nearer, unsuspecting George St shoppers and retailers looked skyward, wondering if it was a jet plane, thunder, or perhaps a volcanic eruption.

The answer became apparent a few minutes later when about 250 motorcycles drove past, headed to Dunedin’s Octagon for the annual Bike Riders of New Zealand (Bronz) toy run.

They came from as far away as Invercargill and Central Otago, and included everything from Japanese road bikes and scooters, to the latest BMWs and Harley-Davidsons.

The colourful event is run in conjunction with the Balmacewen Lions Club.

Club project co-ordinator Brian Rodger said this was the 40th year the event had been held.

"The Bronz people have an annual day where they all bring along a toy or a non-perishable item of food.

"We collect it all and take it to a central depot, where we sort it and give it to community organisations, which distribute it to disadvantaged people."

Mr Rodger said  some "really amazing" items had been given in the past, donations filling several small truck-and-trailers.

"Last year we got a teddy bear that was bigger than you or I — it took up the whole back seat just about.

"We raffled him off and gave the money to one of the organisations."

He estimated up to 600 items were donated this year.

"There’s all sorts of electronic toys, soft toys, games — a cross-section of everything. People are very generous."

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