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Re-enacting 1912 Model T journey through the North Island

Motoring Pioneers - 1912 Model T journey through the North Island

100 years ago, the very first road trip from Wellington to Auckland took place – and it was done in a Ford!

Starting on 3 November, 29 Model T Fords will embark on a centennial re-enactment of the famous 1912 Model T journey through the North Island. They will follow the same track blazed by the original 1912 party. Start day and place is Saturday 3 November, 7.30am at Capital City Ford in Wellington.

Below is more information from organizer, Roger Gardiner. Read more here too:


Henry Ford produced his first Model T Ford in late 1908, and the first Model Ts arrived in New Zealand in June 1909. People quickly became aware that this was a new affordable way to travel; it became their freedom and a paradigm shift in what ordinary people could achieve in a day. Henry Ford made over 15,000,000 of the remarkable Model T Fords and put the world on wheels.

Three men in a Model T Ford left Wellington bound for Auckland in November 1912, not knowing if they could complete this journey through the unknown King Country. In those days there were no road maps, no sign posts, few rivers were bridged and in the King Country there was no known route through. They reached Taihape the first day, then camped near Horopito the second night. From Waimarino (now National Park) they were not sure where they were going. The 75 miles from Taumarunui to Te Kuiti took four and a half days……with the abominable wet weather and papa clay conspiring to stop them.
They finally reached Auckland after only eight and a half days from Wellington, and created history. Today this is still the shortest way through from Wellington to Auckland.

We intend to celebrate this CENTENARY by RE-ENACTING the MOTOR PIONEERS FIRST JOURNEY starting from Wellington in less than two weeks on November 3rd; we, being 30 Model T Ford Club of NZ Members. Some of the Model T Fords taking part in the 500 mile journey are now over 100 years old.

In 2012 the chief sponsors are, 1912 sponsor, The Colonial Motor Company Ltd, still at 89 Courtenay Place in Wellington, and their partner for over 100 years, The Ford Motor Company. There are many more who have helped in significant ways, and we are grateful for their part in making this journey possible.

I want you to share in this CENTENARY OF LIVING HISTORY with us so you may know more about the way our pioneers lived and survived 100 years ago. Below is a link to our interactive website which has been built by my son Jimmy (I still call him James!) and his team of wizards at, and I am proud and very grateful for what they have achieved.



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