The resort town of Hanmer Springs is an attractive year-round holiday destination for relaxation and self-indulgence. Ninety minutes north-west of Christchurch, the small alpine village is known for horse trekking, mountain biking, jet boating, and bungy jumping, but it now can claim to hold one of the best one-day car shows in the South Island: the Hanmer Springs Motorfest, this year held on February 27.

The brainchild of John Alexander and Fiona McLachlan, the idea of a car show in Hanmer came to them on the way home from Kaikoura a couple of years ago. With help from their car club, the Falcon and Fairlane Car Club of Christchurch, who help host the event, they held their first show last year with 218 vehicles in attendance.

This year’s event was held at the Hanmer Domain, under overcast but warm skies. Word was out about the success of last year’s event as over the course of the morning 421 vehicles filed through the gates. The mixture of cars was extensive, from Minis and VWs, to muscle cars, hot rods, and European exotics. After walking the rows of cars, there were a few motorbikes to view, or you could browse the trade stands, or sit and listen to the live music. Food stalls did well, selling plenty of cold drinks and ice creams, and the organizers also involved the local Lions Club through Bryan Berryman, and they have run a food stall at both shows now.

“We have hoped our show would also benefit the local community,” Fiona tells us. It was great to see the number of car enthusiasts walking into town for lunch, going to the hot pools, and even staying the weekend — this has definitely given the local retailers a boost.

Another attraction during the show was the local fire brigade who put on two demonstrations during the day. At the conclusion of the show, a prize-giving was held where awards were given for the top-10 vehicles, top-three bikes, Judges’ Choice, and People’s choice. And with the awards handed out, the show was over for another year. If you couldn’t make it, put it in your diary for next year — better yet, plan a weekend stay, you won’t be disappointed.

Rod Dunn

Born and bred in Central Otago, I moved to Christchurch in 1995. I’ve had several different jobs over the years, from being a kiln operator, to running my own handyman business, and currently I'm the Maintenance Manager at the Wigram Airforce Museum. I'm happily married to my wife Anne-Marie, and between us we have six children — all living away from home now. Photography has been a consistent interest throughout my life, and I've always had a passion for cars, so it was just natural that I would end up photographing them. I also love to do landscape photography whenever I get the chance. I began contributing to NZV8 magazine in 2012 and have gone on to become NZV8's South Island correspondent, photographing and writing both feature car and event articles. I love meeting people and shooting their cars, as well as covering shows for the mag. Long may it continue.