Lately, Tauranga’s evening car meets have been a bit of a failure — but that wasn’t the case on June 26 when I attended the largest car meet Tauranga has seen in many years. With an estimated 200 cars present, there were drivers from all over the central North Island making an appearance. From as far north as Whangarei, car enthusiasts drove their vehicles to the first stop at the Papamoa Plaza to showcase their rides.
At 7.30pm I drove into the plaza with a convoy of cars behind me, and stared in astonishment at the mass of people gathered and cars on display. Only hours before, comments on social media implied that the meet might be a potential disappointment — but that was far from the case!
Event organizer Guy Maxwell launched the event on Facebook a little over a month ago, with the intentions of the meet being an opportunity to photograph some truly amazing cars. On top of that, it was also a great opportunity for like-minded people to interact and share their experiences. With machines ranging from Toyota Starlets and Honda Citys, through to Nissan GTRs and American muscle, we were spoiled for choice as to which vehicles to admire first.
People flocked into the venue in their hundreds before taking to the new Tauranga Eastern Link road. With fresh seal and being two lanes wide, it was the perfect opportunity to take some rolling shots.
Guy and I stationed ourselves in the left lane and directed the cars to the right, taking a few snaps before waving them on. We arrived at Fraser Cove with the huge convoy, and watched as the staff from the surrounding companies made their way outside to investigate this sudden mass arrival of vehicles. I personally assured them that we came in peace, and that we would be leaving again shortly.
Apart from a few people showing off with a loud limiter, everyone was incredibly well behaved. The Tauranga police station had deployed a handful of officers to come down and check on the event, but the officers ended up mainly interacting with the crowds and even enjoying unofficial friendly inspections of some of the vehicles, which I thought was great to see.
From Fraser Cove we then cruised through the CBD towards the Chapel Street shopping centre car park. After 30 minutes or so, we cruised back to the Papamoa Plaza. Guy made his best efforts to ensure that 99 per cent of the roads travelled were double-laned to allow for plenty of awesome photo opportunities.
Overall, the turn-out was incredibly successful and definitely presented some brilliant vehicles. Of course, when you have that many vehicles cruising bumper-to-bumper, accidents can happen — and unfortunately the evening was not without one. My best advice? Keep a safe following distance to others, and make sure your brake lights are fully operational! Keep an eye out for more of these events, as Guy ensures us that there are plenty more to come.