Tommy Kapai: Classic Kiwi adventure in a Roller

By Tommy Kapai

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A classic 1974 Rolls Royce.
A classic 1974 Rolls Royce.

There's a lot to be said about the classic Kiwi weekend like the one we have just had.

Ours started on Friday night picking up a classic car for our classic school country fair.

Everything about our weekend was a classic. Even tour Whanau hui that could have turned to custard was a classic.

It must have been the pulling power of the full moon as it danced across the Moana. For those who caught it, it looked like the full moon had stopped for a rest right on top of Mauao and took on an aureole of its own.

It was Mauao - caught by the evening moon and it reminded me that I should spend more time outside at night when there is magic in the Marama.

I don't know what it is about sunny days and full moons but it brings out the best in people and I guess this was the catalyst for the classic Kiwi weekend.

Or was it that we needed a break from Brown and Banks?

The only positive spin I could find anywhere in this "tale of two tito" (great title for a best seller) is when I was reminded the Maori name for Auckland is Tamaki Makaurau - The Land of a hundred lovers.

Looks like AuckLen to be fair or affair only has 99 to go.

But our fair was a real classic. Pet lambs and sand saucers, quickfire raffles and slow tractor rides on trailers laden with the first bales of the early summer harvest.

Even the Classic Flyers turned up courtesy of a gracious act of kindness by Pyes Pa School and David Love and his team at Classic Flyers.

The only hiccup in the classic Kiwi weekend was with the classic car I had managed to borrow for the country fair off a good mate who happens to have a few quid in the kick as well as a classic 1974 Rolls Royce.

It was all going rather swimmingly on my maiden voyage from my mate's place back out to Te Puna when I noticed Aunt Daisy (as the kids called her) started to suffer from thirst as you do when you are carrying a 7.9-litre gas guzzling donkey inside you.

So with a car full of kids - most of them wearing seatbelts or at least sharing one, I pull into the local bowser to give Daisy a drink.

Sure there were the to be expected sideways glances accorded to a flash car full of Maori, especially a Roller, but we managed to bat them off and look like we owned her, and the arms out the windows were only seen as signs of a sunny day.

Then it was time to give Daisy a drink in front of a crowd of curious but polite spectators and this involved finding the switch to open up the gas tank.

No sweat I told myself, just look like you own it while you work out the right one. Yeah right!

Initial grins and raised eyebrows from cars on either side soon turned to frowns, as Daisy turned into turmoil, with every button being given a push but still no opening of the gas tank.

Quickly it all turned to custard. This sent panic signals not just from the dashboard of the 74 Roller as emergency lights started flashing, but they echoed out across the petrol station forecourt and I could see where this was going to end up.

Soon a rapid response team of the boys in blue will be showing up, summoned by a sea of speed diallers on cellular phones who hoped like hell they would make it on to Police Ten 7.

Bugger this I thought, we are out of here before we are walking home and my days of driving Miss Daisy were over before they had begun.

So off we roared in the roller, or as Billy T would say 'A filled Rolls' given the number of kids in it, as my 15-year-old front seat passenger rifled through the glove box looking for the owner's manual - which he found!

By the time we pulled into the next gas station we looked the part again. The elbows were planted firmly out the window again and inside Daisy a chorus of eyebrows raised and waved to anyone and everyone who looked like they may know us.

A classic Kiwi weekend at a classic country fair, made special by Classic Flyers and my mate's classic car called Daisy.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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