Our open roads and beautiful landscapes quickly captivated two British holidaymakers - and they soon started to think about emigrating.
Eventually those thoughts stopped - because they actually did and vintage car enthusiast David Brock-Jest has now set up his world of classic motoring in Hawke's Bay.
"New Zealand was one of those places we always wanted to visit," said Mr Brock-Jest, who had been here on holiday two years ago with wife Sally.
"I knew I'd want to stay if I came out here ... and that's what happened," he added.
Their daughter Ana had already settled in Napier after what she called "doing the backpacker thing and then falling in love with the place" so when the couple heard that a group of Bentley owners were planning a February 2010 Kiwi road trip, they decided to join in.
They loved what they saw - especially the roads and the openness of them.
The Bentley tour coincided with the Art Deco Weekend, although Napier had not been on the original route list ... until they called Ana who had settled in the city.
"She said you must come to Napier so we arrived here for Art Deco and it was absolutely brilliant."
Mr Brock-Jest said the more they travelled around the country the more they knew they wanted to come here.
Last year they returned, bought "an old Camaro" and toured the country from top to bottom to "test the waters".
They were convinced that New Zealand, and the Bay, was the place to be.
Back in the UK, he had run a classic and vintage vehicle hire company for several years called Hooters-Hire but had "sort of" retired.
Restoring old cars, and houses, had been his staple job through the years, and after deciding to shift downunder wanted to do so in a business as well as lifestyle sense.
"I'm not the sort who wants to sit around and do nothing ... I need something to do," he said.
So, with daughter Ana as a co-director, he has set up the business in Napier, and when the paperwork in obtaining a Transport Service Licence is sorted in about six weeks will be up and motoring.
"I have always been around cars. My father was a great motoring man - he built the first go-kart track in England in the late 1950s, and early 1960s."
At the age of 10 Mr Brock-Jest was racing karts, and it just grew from there.
"Ana was also racing karts when she was 10 and also managed a karting track."
His wife was also passionate about cars and on their many expeditions and rallies was the consummate navigator. "Oh we're all petrolheads here," he said with a laugh.
The couple brought four cars out with them and bought the rest of the 10-car fleet here.
They have a couple of classic MGBs, an Austin Healey, a Camaro, and a selection of vintage American cars including a Buick, a Dodge and an Oldsmobile, from the 1920s and 1930s.
A website, www.hooters-hire.co.nz had been set up.