Transport on show: it's the wheel deal this Easter

Wheels at Wanaka originator Allan Dippie at the wheel of his ‘‘bogan’’ Super Major tractor....
Wheels at Wanaka originator Allan Dippie at the wheel of his ‘‘bogan’’ Super Major tractor. PHOTOS: MARK PRICE

For two days over Easter, Wanaka will be at the centre of the wheel world.

Well over a thousand vehicles, and who knows how many actual wheels, will assemble on a piece of land beneath Mt Iron for Wheels at Wanaka, a transport show driven by Wanaka property developer Allan Dippie.

"If it's got wheels or it's got tracks, it will be here."

As well as the hundreds of tractors owned by Mr Dippie, hundreds of other vehicles of all types are arriving in Wanaka from around the country and Australia.

Mr Dippie intends the show to be held on alternate Easter weekends to the Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow.

"Wheels at Wanaka is an experiment.

"It's a one-off show but if it's successful ... and we get a big crowd and we get good feedback, the idea is we would do it every second year."

It will showcase tractors - steam, diesel and petrol - from the 1900s to the 1970s.

They will be paraded around an arena over the two days, driven by 82 volunteer drivers who are part of the "adopt-a-tractor programme".

"There's been a huge response from retired farmers and the like."

The car show will have "everything from Morris Minors to McLaren" but with Ford the feature make for the first show.

"We really haven't got a handle on what will turn up.

"There will be quite a bit of stuff that will turn up on the day."

There will be a truck show. Many are coming from the North Island, some towing hundreds of tonnes of machinery for the "earthmoving extravaganza".

"These are classic big earthmoving machines that built New Zealand."

Fifteen of them at a time will demonstrate their capabilities on piles of earth not far from Wanaka's new Recreation Centre.

"It's the first time it's been done in New Zealand, and it's going to be quite a crowd-pleaser."

Among them will be a 74-tonne-empty Caterpillar scraper that arrived in Wanaka on Thursday.

It was being used in an Australian coal mine but is now owned by Paul Clarke, of Dunedin.

"We were lucky enough to come across five of them in Australia and three guys from New Zealand have bought one each.

"It's a bit of an icon. The biggest scraper ever made. Gotta have one."

Mr Dippie said it was costing "an awful lot of money" to get the equipment to the show.

"People don't seem to mind.

"They seem to be very keen to bring their equipment to Wanaka."

Mr Dippie said he began collecting tractors only two years ago, but it was on a tractor that he first set out in business.

"It's a good hobby.

"People think I've gone a bit nuts but, I haven't."

"My business started with just myself and one tractor, so I've always had a bit of a soft spot for them."

And on show day, if you are looking for Mr Dippie, you will most likely find him on board a late 1950s Fordson Super Major tractor with a "transplanted" V8 - "a hot rod tractor that makes a great sound ... a bit bogan".

There would be electric cars on show, including a 1904 Baker, and there will be bicycles.

Not just for show will be 80 portable toilets.

"We started with 50 and ordered 30 more the other day.

"There's nothing worse than a queue for the Portaloo."

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