Motorhomes pack into racecourse for rally

Motorhome owners have converged on Oamaru for this weekend’s 64th New Zealand Motor Caravan...
Motorhome owners have converged on Oamaru for this weekend’s 64th New Zealand Motor Caravan Association National Rally. PHOTO: SUPPLIED/CORBAN BLAMPIED
When more than 600 motorhomes come to town, you had better be prepared.

The Oamaru Racecourse now resembles a motorhome city thanks to the 64th New Zealand Motor Caravan Association National Rally, which has brought together people from around the country.

Fortunately, convener Bill Paton, of Oamaru, and his committee of 10 knew what they were in for; after two years planning, they are delighted to see motorhomes of all shapes and sizes roll in.

"We chose Oamaru because of the variety of things to see around Oamaru and its central location in the South Island," he said.

"There’s people from Northland right through to Invercargill attending the rally. There’s a fair bit on. We try to encourage them to stay after the rally and there’s been a number that have stayed prior to the rally."

This week’s tasks included marking out sites for each van, pitching a giant marquee in which to stage three nights of live entertainment, and setting up smaller tents for trade displays related to motorhomes.

He said the "lifestyle and freedom to move where you want to go" was the appeal for most motorhome owners, who he said came from all walks of life.

The association also had about 45 parks that its 90,000 members could use at their leisure.

Association president Bruce Stanger said those at the rally had enjoyed their time in Oamaru so far and some had embraced what the town was famous for by dressing up in Victorian garb.

Others were happier to just take in the sights, or visit the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony.

He said the event was beneficial to the Oamaru economy.

"I think the town will notice a bit of an upturn. A whole lot of people here will be spending money."

The inaugural gathering of just six vans was held at Clifton, Hawke’s Bay.

In 1971, Hampden, south of Oamaru, hosted 23 vehicles, then the 21st rally was scaled up at the Trentham Memorial Park Showgrounds and the format was established.

The rally officially started yesterday and will wrap up on Sunday.

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