Cars a highlight of open day at Taieri

Taking inspiration from the Art Deco era are (from left) Marion Craig, of Dunedin, Lesley Ennor,...
Taking inspiration from the Art Deco era are (from left) Marion Craig, of Dunedin, Lesley Ennor, of Napier, and Vicky and Michael Harding, of Waipukurau, at the Wings and Wheels open day at the Taieri Airfield yesterday. Photo: Linda Robertson
The event drew a crowd estimated at 12,000 people. Photo: Linda Robertson
The event drew a crowd estimated at 12,000 people. Photo: Linda Robertson

Vintage, steampunk and Art Deco went hand-in-hand with fast food and picnics as about 12,000 people enjoyed the Wings and Wheels open day at Taieri Airfield yesterday.

Art deco enthusiasts Marion Craig, of Dunedin, Lesley Ennor, of Napier, and Vicky and Michael Harding, of Waipukurau, enjoyed a vintage afternoon tea beside Mr Harding's 1926 Sunbeam Landaulette and were ‘‘practising'' for the Art Deco festival in Napier in February.

‘‘We used to go rallying in it [the car] when we were little,'' Ms Ennor said.

‘‘She's called Bessie.''Mr Harding said Bessie had been in the family since 1961 and was brought over from the UK in 1984.

Xavier Mockford (11), of Perth, was mightily impressed with Grandma, a 1900 Wolseley Voiturette, believed to be New Zealand's oldest car and the first with four wheels and a steering wheel.

Xavier's father Ross Mockford said seeing a car like that was ‘‘awesome technology''.

Families also made the most of the day. Graham and Jill Geary, of Dunedin, took the opportunity to catch up with granddaughter Hinemoa Geary, who was visiting from Auckland.‘‘It's an opportunity to have some entertainment outside,'' Mr Geary said.

About 600 cars, ranging in vintage from 1900 to 1984, were on show at the event as well as 40 aeroplanes and more than 30 stalls.

People from around the world were enjoying what was on offer, including low-cost helicopter and plane rides and free children's entertainment.

Wings and Wheels open day project manager Caroline Walker said the highlight was ‘‘absolutely the cars''.

‘‘It's something you don't see in Dunedin,'' Mrs Walker said.

‘‘This is the public's chance to see all the vehicles.''The open day was part of the 10-day International Festival of Historic Motoring organised by the Vintage Car Club of New Zealand.

It was held every four to six years in different locations around the country.

About 60 volunteers made the day run smoothly.

Mrs Walker said to get more than 10,000 people at a Dunedin event was rare and the day was ‘‘amazing''.

-rhys.chamberlain@odt.co.nz

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