Despite the decidedly average summer and less than appealing winter, events either hosted by the club or those that the club has been involved with during the past year have seen strong attendance numbers, with many members turning out for many, if not all events.
There have been no fewer than 20 events over the past 12 months that the club has either held or had some involvement with, not including club nights, Caffeine & Classics, DMFV’s bunker nights and other informal get-togethers, which would easily see that number of activities doubled or tripled.
Of course, we’re all jealous of those lucky members who attended Hessich Oldenhorf – a bucket-list event for us all, I’m sure.
While it’s the passion for the cars that brought us all together in the first place, it’s the friendships formed and catching up with a bunch of great people on a regular basis that unites our club, and I thank those of you here tonight, who have braved the cold to come along and have a say in the running of the club, sharing in the passion for the hobby and to and shoot the breeze with like-minded enthusiasts.
Let’s not forget that it’s the members who drive the club along – often unsung heroes who turn up at event after event or who help others keep their car on the road, offering support, advice or just enriching our enjoyment of the hobby by being a part of it, who are the people that make up the essence and spirit of the club.
While we all contribute to the hobby in one way or another, I want to make special mention of one of our oldest and most dear members who we sadly lost in this past year, and that’s Jill Greer who passed away around Christmas time aged 85.
Jill lived the dream, living what some might call an alternative lifestyle, having driven her left-hand drive lowlight bay window Kombi BURTHA for over four decades. Having been a regular attendee at club events for many years, Jill celebrated her 82nd birthday at Bulli in 2013, and she loved being among VW enthusiasts, often bringing her grandchildren along, and she was truly a lovely lady, loved by us all.
A few of us from the club attended Jill’s “funeral” with our VWs, and like the way Jill lived her life, her send-off was something of an alternative affair, and one of which Jill would have been proud.
I’m pleased to hear that Jill’s daughter Hanna has now taken over BURTHA, so it’s nice to see that the spirit of Jill lives on within the VW fraternity, and we hope to see Hanna and BURTHA at future club events.
For me – in my past year sitting in the president’s seat – there are a few special individuals who I believe deserve a special mention.
It’s appropriate to thank those club members and others who have organised events throughout the year for us to enjoy.
Arthur and the DMFV team for Bug Jam, Simon at Kombi Klassic for opening up his shop and providing a barbeque for us all, the Tauranga crew and Naki boys and girls for Run to the Sun and Bulli respectively, and everyone who has organised, arranged and contributed to holding events that keep people interested; thanks to you all. Thanks also to Frank Pronk at Euro Auto Services for sponsoring the club website.
Being the biggest event on our calendar, the VW Nationals is a massive event to organise and run, so a big “thank you” goes to the Kombined VW Club for hosting that event.
It’s a massive undertaking to organise events such as these, and despite the odd speed wobble, every Easter since 1991 has seen the Nationals in one form or another take place. For me, at least, it’s a legacy that I want to see continue on into the future, but it relies on strong clubs and dedicated people to ensure it lives on.
Anyone who has been involved with organising such an event, knows that it takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears, peoplepower, planning, teamwork, and not an insignificant amount of funding to put on a truly world-class event, such as this.
This brings me to the wet, wild and largely cold and miserable Wellington Nationals many of us attended earlier this year. (The weather that is; otherwise it was the usual enormous fun, good people, great event it always is).
In the past, we have often known the location of the forthcoming Nationals a few years out. But in recent years, that hasn’t been the case, with many of us wondering where, and hoping that there would be a VW Nationals next year.
So after sounding out a few Auckland club members who were present, the decision was taken on the spot for our club to host the 2018 Nationals.
And then the Christchurch crew promptly expressed their interest in holding the event in their neck of the woods in 2019, so now we have some direction for the next two years at least.
But before I made that announcement on the night, there was one guy I needed to call to make sure he would be in agreement; to look after the cheque book and keep track of the dosh. He’s also always there to photograph the events too, and keep us all informed of club activities, promoting them on social media and via email.
So Terry, I’d like to thank you for all the hard work you have put into many aspects of running of the club, for your help as a first rate secretary/treasurer and fantastic one-man PR department!
Needless to say, Terry was in agreement and so it is that our club will be hosting the 2018 VW Nationals in Cambridge.
Yes, that’s in the Waikato, so along with those who have committed, or are yet to commit to help funding the 2018 Nationals, the club is well and truly indebted to the Waikato VW Club, who have not only offered to assist with running the event, but have generously donated close to $2,000 towards the event – funding that will go towards hospitality at the welcome event on Good Friday.
I’m pleased to say that within our club and the wider VW community, we have a great team of people who I know we can rely on to put on a fantastic show for VW enthusiasts from around the country to enjoy.
Having put up our hand to host the event, progress to date has been quite rapid.
We have secured the brilliant location of Victoria Square in Cambridge to hold the Show & Shine. Mighty River Domain at Karapiro has been made available to us for camping, accommodation and to hold the dinner and prizegiving onsite at Sir Don Rowlands Centre, and we have applied to Waipa District Council for a community funding grant, and are hopeful of receiving some support from the council.
And huge thanks go to Qualitats for coming onboard as the major event sponsor. I know I speak for all of us here in thanking Josie and Wayne Fenton of Qualitat Motors who have generously sponsored the Nationals throughout the years.
Also, thanks to Paul Smith at the V-Dub Shoppe in the Waikato for his sponsorship, as well as Simon from Kombi Klassic, Frank at Euro Auto Services and Wayne at Buzzbug who have all been quick to offer their contributions too, and to European Motor Distributors (Volkswagen NZ), who have indicated they are keen to be involved, as they have been throughout the past few years.
Don’t forget, these businesses have given generously in order that we can all continue to enjoy our hobby and have a wonderful, enjoyable VW Nationals, so I urge you reciprocate and support them in return.
So now, the hard work really begins. A number of people have already offered their support and/or help at the event, and I thank you all. We’ll definitely need an energetic crew to ensure the event runs smoothly, and it seems that Vee Dub people are a keen and enthusiastic lot.
Thank you for your support in the last 12 months, and I’m happy to see that the club continues to thrive and provide enjoyment of the hobby for us all.
That’s it from me.