A movie that became a Kiwi classic 40 years ago continues to be relived as a fundraiser for a children's charity.
The 1981 movie Goodbye Pork Pie followed the misadventures of the Blondini Gang as they took a chaotic road trip from Kaitaia to Invercargill in a yellow Mini. At 7.30am on Friday 50 Minis, ranging from 1960s originals to Mini Coopers and even a Mini truck and trailer, left Paihia on a 2350km trip retracing, more or less, the gang's tyre tracks.
Along the way they will raise money for children's charity KidsCan.
The biennial Pork Pie Run has traditionally started in Kaitaia, but this time the marathon is slightly shorter, starting in Paihia, possibly thanks to SH1 through the Mangamuka Gorge still being closed.
After passing through Whangārei and Auckland, with a stop in Pokeno, where the Blondini Gang first, albeit accidentally, stole petrol, the drivers and support crews spent Friday night in Taupō, aiming for Wellington on Saturday.
Northlanders taking part this year include Chris Westlake, from Matakohe, who has painstakingly converted his 1965 Mini into a miniature Mack truck towing a custom-built two-axle trailer, complete with truck exhaust stacks, air horns, a full set of truck lights, embroidered seats and a giant toy bear as co-driver.
Westlake, a truckie by profession, said he had taken part in all seven KidsCan Pork Pie Charity Runs to date.
Last time he ran into mechanical difficulties, partly because he was towing a trailer-load of kumara, but this year he's hoping for an incident-free drive to Invercargill.
The Mini was a fun car that made people laugh, he said.
''My mum and dad grew up with them. People tell you stories about how they learnt to drive in them, as everyone did in the 1960s and '70s, and the Mini Mack puts a smile on people's faces," he added.
Organiser Tracey Brake said the Pork Pie Charity Run was great fun, but also a test of endurance for cars and drivers.
"We've got Minis from 1964 with 850cc motors. Travelling long distances in a classic Mini is a bit like being a marble in a biscuit tin. There are moments that take your breath away because the country is so stunning, and moments when you think, 'Are we there yet? That rattle's getting worse!'
"To get to the finish line you need a finely tuned sense of humour, a chiropractor on speed dial and an AA Plus membership - that's vital," she said.
As well as raising money for Kidscan the teams aimed to bring some business to towns hurting from the lack of international tourists, she added.
The other Northland teams taking part are Phil and Pamela Renouf, or Team Blondie, from One Tree Point, and Greg Moir and Kelvin Hyde, aka the Mulvaney Gang, from Kerikeri.
The Mini fleet is due to arrive in Invercargill tomorrow.
KidsCan provides food, jackets, shoes and health products to children at 829 low-decile schools and 110 early childhood centres across New Zealand. The 2019 run raised more than $290,000 for the cause.
Goodbye Pork Pie, which was directed by Geoff Murphy and co-starred Whangārei lawyer Kelly Johnson, was one of New Zealand's first commercially successful movies. Along with Sleeping Dogs four years earlier, it heralded the coming of age of Kiwi cinema.