The normally quiet rural surrounds of Heatherlee East Road just north of Levin were filled with noise from all manner of machinery big and small on the weekend during the Horowhenua Vintage Machinery Club's Harvest Weekend, held in Levin every four years.

It brought out more than just Horowhenua's machinery enthusiasts. Tinkerers from Taranaki, Tauranga, and the wider Manawatū had come down to share their passion and show off their labours of love to others.

Stephen Prouse had brought his 1919 Jelbart along, and it was used to drive a stationary hay baler. Local businessmen Michael Hill brought some of his machinery along, including a bulldozer, while Dave Sayles showed off one of his classic cars.

Murray Doreen put a 1926 Chrusler roadster on display and Brian Wilton was on duty as first aider along with his replica of the 1930s ambulance used at Palmerston North Hospital.

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Murray Doreen Chrysler was on show as one of many classic cars at the Horowhenua Vintage Machinery Club's Harvest Weekend.
Murray Doreen Chrysler was on show as one of many classic cars at the Horowhenua Vintage Machinery Club's Harvest Weekend.

The two steam traction engines running around a neighbouring paddock and the stone crushing machine attracted a lot of attention from visitors to the show, as did the team of Clydesdales towing a plough.

Geoff Fallaize from the Horowhenua Vintage Machinery Club had had a bit of fun with a machine he obtained through connections in the Wairarapa some years ago. It came with a rotating yellow sign that said "This machine has no brains. Use your own".

He used the machine to produce various liquids, including something that looked like beer.

"It is not - it is just a bit of fun," he said. The machine dates from 1905 and was used to drive workshop equipment.

Like so many old machines it had been surpassed by later technology and was found languishing in the back of a shed somewhere. This one was rescued in 2009.

"It look me four years to restore. It has a 34-litre capacity and a single cylinder."

After a life time working as an A Grade mechanic Fallaize said he could fix anything.

"If necessary you make missing parts yourself." This machine had its ignition and its cooling system (among other things) missing when he found it.

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Brian Wilton built his 1930s lookalike ambulance from a chassis. That was all he had, and a photo of the original 1930 ambulance that was based at Palmerston North Hospital and which the staff there paid for themselves.

"Doctors and nurses had money deducted each week from their pay to finance the ambulance, according to a newspaper article written at the time," he said.

"I have an original motor which is being repaired. When that's back the ambulance will be roadworthy." At the moment he uses a Holden engine to drive the vehicle on and off a trailer he uses to transport his ambulance from event to event.

"It took me seven years to build this. The engine took three years to fix."

Brian Wilton's 1930s ambulance at the Horowhenua Vintage Machinery Club's Harvest Weekend.
Brian Wilton's 1930s ambulance at the Horowhenua Vintage Machinery Club's Harvest Weekend.

Wilton is often on duty at events like the Harvest Weekend and treats people's minor injuries on the spot and if necessary can ring St John for back-up, as he cannot leave the event to take people to a doctor or the hospital.

"I do not lend out my gear. If they want first aid kits or a defibrillator, I come along with it."

He said he had worked for St John for 20 years and also worked for IC Marks, a Levin funeral home. All the effort put into building his vintage ambulance has not put him off in the slightest. He'd like to have another go.

"I'd love to build a hearse one day."