The cars roared in, the sun shone, the music played, and the people smiled in Orewa, Auckland over Auckland Anniversary weekend (January 30–February 1) as Hibiscus Rodders hosted its seventh annual Hibiscus Rodders Beach Festival.

Show organizer Sharon Morris says the three-day event raised its best-ever amount, and this year’s donation to the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust was a staggering $35,000.

“We are delighted with the whole event,” says Sharon. “We had car entrants travel from as far away as Whangarei, New Plymouth, Gisborne, and Te Awamutu, and we’ve had fabulous feedback with everyone telling us they had a great time. It’s just getting bigger and better each year.

“It’s great to promote hot rodding, great for our community, and hopefully helps all the local businesses. And most of all, it raises fantastic funds for the Westpac Rescue Helicopter to help save lives — it’s a win-win for everyone.”

Hundreds of American vehicles and pre ’75s of all origins attended across the different events, which included hot rods in the park and a drive-in movie at Orewa’s Western Reserve on Friday evening, the main Beach Festival event at Orewa Reserve on Saturday, and a show ’n’ shine on Orewa’s main street on Sunday morning.

Good weather contributed to a big public turnout, with Destination Orewa Beach’s Hellen Wilkins estimating an overall crowd of up to 50,000 people spread over the festival’s three days.

A new feature of the event this year was Miss Hibiscus Vintage. Fourteen entrants wowed the crowd with their colourful ’50s and ’60s vintage fashion, hairstyles, and make-up. The winner was Hanna Wain from Waitoki (vintage name: Dariel Dearlove), with Anna Hildred (Zigana Monroe) in second place, and Olivia Lambarth (Miss Ruby Jay) in third.

Another new contest was the V8 Hot Chic Award for female car owners. This year’s winner was Janine O’Gorman of Matakana with her ’58 Pontiac.

Te Awamutu car owners Donald and Lyn McCorquindale won two of the event’s major car prizes: the Public’s Choice Award and the Hibiscus Rodders President’s Choice, with their red 1960 Chevrolet Impala. New Plymouth couple Gordon and Pauline Bourne took out the Garry Christini Trophy with their Chevrolet N2A 789 (’57 front, ’58 midsection, and ’59 back), while Gavin and Rebecca Hollier of Orewa scored two awards with their green 1967 Buick Electra: Saturday’s Petrolhead Trophy and Sunday’s Loudest Stereo Sounds.

Another Orewa resident, Carolyn Smith, won the Westpac Helicopter Trophy with her 1959 black-and-red Ford Mercury convertible.

Air Tahiti Nui and House of Travel’s popular USA getaway prize draw went to Howick visitor Reece Melville, while every man’s dream toolkit, Repco Whangaparaoa’s $4000 man-cave toolbox, was won by West Auckland hot rodder Rob Lovie.

Photos: Linden Images