Ode to an old truck

It's unlikely any other wreck in New Zealand has been photographed as often as the old truck that used to perch on a decaying jetty over the Hokianga Harbour at Kohukohu. It's also a pretty safe bet to say it's the only truck wreck to inspire an art exhibition. Slice of Life: Stories about Kohukohu's Truck opened at Village Arts Gallery in Kohukohu on Saturday with a collection of paintings, photographs, automotive relics, recorded interviews of Hokianga residents reminiscing about the truck, and even a few rusting remains. The 1938 International D-35 started life as a troop transporter in World War II. After the war garage owner Gordon Richmond converted it into a coal truck; when its wooden cab frame rotted, Vic Gurney - owner of Gurney's garage on the Kohukohu waterfront, in what used to be Fell's Boatyard and later Fell's Garage - replaced the cab with that of a Bedford truck whose chassis was wrecked in a crash. However, he never finished the project and the truck was left behind when the garage closed down. Over the years parts of the garage which were not dismantled were stolen or simply fell into the tide, and the truck was left exposed to the elements. Some residents considered it an eyesore but others loved it, regarding it as an ever-evolving public artwork. It became a tourist icon and was perhaps the most photographed sight in the Hokianga. It was removed by the site's lease holder in 2007 in circumstances which are disputed to this day. The show is curated by Marg Morrow, who had invited anyone with memories of the truck to contribute. It runs until May 30.