Whare’s new lease on life

The whare’s wall are lined with memorabilia — newspaper clippings, places and events John Hall...
The whare’s wall are lined with memorabilia — newspaper clippings, places and events John Hall has visited. Photos: Tony Williams
A little red corrugated-iron whare will roll smoothly behind a vintage tractor in the Greg Donaldson Contracting Ashburton Wheels Week Plus street parade this month.

The whare  will be taking its place among members of the Ashburton Vintage Machinery Club in the parade on the final day of the Wheels Week Plus  programme.

  The club has about 100 members, so expect to see a few vintage machines. The whare, which sits on a truck chassis, plays a big role in the life of Ashburton Vintage Machinery Club president John Hall. It holds warm memories and its walls are lined with memorabilia — newspaper clippings, places and events Mr Hall has visited.

Mr Hall and his wife, Marie, have owned the whare since 2005.

It began its life as a smoko-come-storage wagon for Waitaki County Council road gangs.

Ashburton Vintage Machinery Club president John Hall stands next to the little red corrugated...
Ashburton Vintage Machinery Club president John Hall stands next to the little red corrugated-iron whare which he says is more than just sleeping quarters — it’s a social hub.
After years of it being towed from one gravel pit to another, the council sold it to a Waitaki River fisherman.

It was parked within sight of the road when Mr Hall spotted it in 2002 and for two years he watched it slide into disrepair.

He had a vision of restoring the whare for use as a base for ploughing events but it took another 12 months to persuade the fisherman to sell.

It has a fresh coat of paint, a newly installed bunk bed, scrubbed coal range and a wall of seating replaced with a kitchen bench and shelving. It also has a new awning.

In its life with the Halls, the whare has been to international and national ploughing events, field days, young farmer contests, tractor rallies, traction engine and A&P shows. It has been used as a mobile publicity office/media centre, a smoko room and a general place to hang out.

Conversation and a brew are often on the cards for people visiting the whare.
Conversation and a brew are often on the cards for people visiting the whare.
The whare has become more than just a shelter. It has become a hub, a place for people to use as a headquarters or to socialise. The heat from the coal range also draws in people.

Towed behind one of Mr Hall’s trusty tractors at 30kmh, it has been as far north as Waipara, in North Canterbury, and as far south as Clinton, in South Otago.

Mr Hall travels about 130km a day and generally takes back roads to any destination. He stops on the side of the road for a brew, but if overnighters are needed, they are spent in camping grounds. It comfortably sleeps two.

While it took four days to travel the 420km to Tapanui, it will not take long to get the whare to the Wheels Week street parade which starts at 10.30am.

Even taking the back roads, Mr Hall and his little red whare should be there in just a few minutes.

toni.williams@alliedpress.co.nz

 

Wheels Week Plus

Wheels Week Plus takes Mid Canterbury’s many wheels-related events and combines them into one event. It starts with the Ashburton Vintage Car Club Swap Meet on May 5. Over the course of 16 days events around the district include speedway, street sprints, motorbike displays, night trials, car  rallies, vintage trains, a wheelchair basketball exhibition, hot rods, classic cars, 4x4 off-roading, mountain biking,  motocross, TT, motokhana, classic boats, even spinning wheels and static vehicle displays.  The grand finale will be  the street parade in Ashburton’s central business district. It is open to anyone and anything with wheels. The parade starts at Mona Square, travels  to East St and along to the Ashburton clock, loops around the block and back down East St to finish at Moore St. The parade starts at 10.30am. For a full events programme go to www.wheelsweek.co.nz.

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