Car show thrills enthusiasts

There was eye-candy galore for car-lovers at Sunday's Waipu Lions Car and Bike Show, but the vehicle catching most people's eye was a red and cream Ford Skyliner with the number plate "Orgazm".

While the plate attracted giggling teenage boys posing for selfies, more serious car enthusiasts admired the car's details and polish.

The Skyliner picked up both Best American Car and the People's Choice award, and Hot Rod Magazine named it one of the top five cars in the show.

Ian Neary at the wheel of his multi prize winning 1959 Ford Skyliner. Photo/Julie Paton
Ian Neary at the wheel of his multi prize winning 1959 Ford Skyliner. Photo/Julie Paton

Owner Ian Neary discovered the car in 2002, unloved and neglected in a West Auckland garage. He began rebuilding in 2004, but major repairs in 2010 meant another rebuild.

Its current paint job of Ferrari Rosso Orsa ("The best red you can get", according to Neary) with Colonial Honda Pearl reflect the car's original red and cream colours.

He said the licence plate expresses the thrill he got while working on the car, every time he headed to the shed after work and pulled off the covers.

A lifelong Ford fan, Neary uses the Skyliner "magnificently, all the time" even to the supermarket, "though I take up four spaces".

He loves to share his enjoyment of the showstopping car and parks it with the top down, letting people check it out in all its glory.

Whangārei's Don and Shirley Ross are likewise proud of their glittering 1937 Chevrolet, which won Best Display and a top-five nod from Hot Rod Magazine.

Named 50 Shades of Gold, the car is painted in Wild Tiger, a colour Ross mixed himself.

"When we first bought it, it was 50 shades of black, it looked atrocious," he said.

They've travelled all over the country to various car shows for seven years.

"We're just two pensioners enjoying life."

A newcomer to car shows, Warkworth's Karl Stanbra was thrilled to pick up Best Australian for his 1972 Holden Monaro, glowing in Tangelo Pearl.

Karl and Lachlan Stanbra with their trophy and 1972 Holden Monaro. Photo/Julie Paton
Karl and Lachlan Stanbra with their trophy and 1972 Holden Monaro. Photo/Julie Paton

"It's great that he's being acknowledged for the hard work he's put into it," said wife Karlie.

Karl spent eight years rebuilding the vehicle and Waipū was just its second show.

Waipū Lions run the show, now in its fourth year, as a fundraiser for local community groups – this year the major beneficiary is Bream Bay St John, along with groups which helped at the show: Bream Bay College's kapa haka and Panimals musicians, and Bream Bay Swim Club.

Karen Cave, who with husband Ron, does the lion's share of organising the day, said because it is a charitable event, they attract owners who may not otherwise display their cars.

The event was open to anyone with a vehicle of interest, and this year around 700 cars and 100 bikes turned up, making it Waipū's biggest show yet.

Dawn blessing for new building

Last Friday Ruakākā School held a dawn blessing for its new utility building and this week, after two years in storage, the school's library books were back on the shelves for students to enjoy.

People file into Ruakākā School's new building during the dawn blessing. Photo/Julie Paton
People file into Ruakākā School's new building during the dawn blessing. Photo/Julie Paton

The building will hold all 250 students for assemblies, and as well as a library, incorporates a three-bay kitchen for the school's Garden to Table programme.

"Now we have five kitchens for the children to use," said principal Marilyn Dunn.

Work on the building began last September. The official opening is on February 21, but already staff have claimed a corner of it. The fast-growing school needs more space and a class is taking over the staffroom while another classroom, the school's 14th, is built.

North River Horse and Humanship Centre open day

About 100 people checked out the activities offered at Waipū's North River Horse and Humanship Centre at its open day earlier this month.

Owners Ian and Anke Benson were delighted with the turnout.

"We didn't really know how many people to expect, I guessed somewhere between three and 300. This number was about right," said Ian Benson.

Guests first met North River's 22 horses. Ian then demonstrated with a young horse, Cracker, the importance of setting boundaries. The Share-a-Horse "Pony Girls" were next up, demonstrating some of the things they do with their horses.

With Anke Benson introducing them and their horses, people got an insight into the journey that both horses and their humans had been on to reach this point.

After lunch and paddock rides for the kids, Haley Hunter gave visitors a taste of Contact Care body work. Contact Care is used at North River as a treatment for their horses, which also works for humans too.

Three volunteers experienced a short Equine Assisted Learning session. Humanship Horsemanship sessions of groundwork and ridden work rounded the day out.

Ian and Anke presented their style of doing things together with their horses with as much focus on the relationship with the horse as on the task.

Mangawhai Walking weekend

Bookings are open now for the 20th Mangawhai Walking weekend. There is a walk to suit everyone, from easy strolls and dog walks, to more challenging grades.

Try the entertaining Troubadour Trail on Friday afternoon, or the food and wine festival on Saturday – relax in the shade or dance until the sun sets. There is a walkers' celebration lunch Sunday, and in addition to walking, this year there are surf, paddleboarding and kayak lessons.

Tickets range from $25-$65, book through

Email Julie Paton at if you've got Bream Bay news to share with Northern Advocate readers.