Photos: Taupo Bay's tractor X-factor

Tractors of every size, age and condition descended on Taupo Bay on Sunday for the beachside settlement’s fifth annual Tractor Spectacular. More than 30 teams took part, some going to great lengths to pimp their machines. The prize for best decorated tractor went a controversial but highly topical Gloriavale-themed entry from Whangārei, whose crew received special attention from spectators armed with water bombs, hoses and buckets, and celebrated their victory with a mass baptism in the surf. The best team award went to a spectacular Taupo Bay entry based on the Disney movie Moana with a tractor covered in tropical vegetation towing a tinny converted into an ocean-going waka. Other teams chose themes ranging from African drumming to pirates and the surf lifesaving antics of Taupo Baywatch. Prizes were also awarded for best pre- and post-1970 tractor, best-pimped and most-loved tractors. Organiser Stephen Jones said a record number of spectators turned out for the 2018 Spectacular, helping turn the parade into a giant water fight. Jones and his brother-in-law Michael Redwood started the event in 2014 as a ‘‘salute to the tractor’’. ‘‘Without tractors we wouldn’t have a life here. It’s a beach-launch bay so without tractors there’s no boats, and boats give us all the fun things like fishing, access to the bay and biscuiting,’’ he said.