Start your engine – Rodders ready for return run

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One of the biggest events on the Hibiscus Coast calendar – the Rodders Beach Festival – will celebrate its 10th anniversary next month.

More than 500 classic cars from around New Zealand are expected to gather in Orewa over three days (January 25 to 27) and all funds raised will be donated to the Auckland based Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.

Over the past nine years, Hibiscus Rodders has raised around $200,000 for the rescue service.
An organiser Sharon Morris says nearly everyone knows someone who has used the helicopter service.

“My brother Ron Morris was being transported to hospital by helicopter after a heart attack,” she says. “Sady, he died en route, but that doesn’t change the fact that the service does an amazing job and a lot of club members are passionate about supporting it.”

The Rodders Club is extending its fundraising this year by setting up a ‘$1 for the Chopper’ campaign which will run for a week around the festival. They are asking shoppers at New World supermarkets to make a donation, with Browns Bay and Orewa supermarkets already onboard.

Although the event is free for spectators, money is raised through ticket sales to rodders, a huge auction, programme sales – which includes an opportunity to win a trip to the United States – and food and entertainment.

As usual, any American vehicle is eligible to enter, as well as other vehicles that are pre-1978.
The introduction of a limited number of VIP tickets this year was successful and will be repeated in 2019.

While the cars are the main drawcard, the programme has a range of events to appeal to the whole family. These include Miss Hibiscus Vintage, the NZ Petrolhead V8 Chic Clinic and a new event, Retro Tiny Tots.

The Miss Hibiscus event is judged on vintage look, outfit, hair, makeup and poise, and its popularity has meant that entries have been capped at 30. The Retro Tiny Tots will be held on the Sunday, for boys and girls aged five to 10 years.

Something for everyone
The programme will kick off on Friday night with a drive-in movie and meet and greet.

On Saturday, Hibiscus Coast Highway, between Beach Road and Weiti Road will be closed until around mid-afternoon for the main festival day. In the afternoon, cars will cruise to Puhoi for a What’s Under Your Hood competition, which will be judged by NZV8.

On Sunday morning, activities will be based along Orewa Boulevard, between Florence Avenue and Riverside Road.

Entertainment over the weekend will include “Elvis”, El Camino and The Turd Creek band.

The event will wind-up with lunch at the North Harbour Country Club where the final competitions will be for the ‘loudest exhaust’ and ‘loudest stereo’.

Donations vital
The Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service flew around 20 missions into the Hibiscus Coast and surrounding area last year, and is tracking towards a similar number this year.

“Each and every mission leaves behind a hole $5000 deep that we have to fill with other people’s generosity,” Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust marketing manager John Hooper says. “The Rodders Festival has grown year-upon-year to the point where the $45,000 in vital funding generated earlier this year paid for almost half of those locals missions. “The trust as a whole simply can’t survive without this support and in-turn funding.”

John says the trust will have a presence at the Rodders Festival, but whether one of its new larger aircraft can get into the venue is something the pilots will have to consider.

“One issue might be that if it is there it will be operational and we’d hate for the rotor wash from this large aircraft to cause any damage to any of the beautiful vehicles that will be on display. “I attend a lot of events over the course of the year and this is one of my two favourites. The way so many locals pitch in and work tirelessly for the pleasure of others is truly inspiring.”

The rescue service team typically carries out 1150 rescues annually.

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