Get your trek on: 2017 Trillian Trek — day six

24 March, 2017

Trillian Trek (formerly Variety Bash) has always enjoyed a great relationship with NZ Police — whether it be the good-natured wrapping of the local cop cars in metres of coloured plastic or sending the town community constable up a 10-storey ladder and then drenching them with blue-dyed water or foam! 

Another organisation that works closely with Police is NZ Blue Light. For the past 30 years the charity has been working in communities around the country empowering young people to be the best they can be and helping the Police to build positive youth-police partnerships.

For the folk behind the Trillian Trek and 27 years of raising money for Kiwi Kids, choosing NZ Blue Light as their new partner charity was a no-brainer — and for the Blue Light team, well, they came to play! 

The first grant of the week-long non-competitive event was a $25k van that will be used for a new Blue Light initiative for 15 and 16 year-olds struggling to find their place in their communities and getting into trouble. The six-month programme will be an opportunity for the young men to top up their life skills and start the process of becoming employable. 

Throughout the week, the Trekkers gave grants to all the local Blue Light branches around Northland to help them with their community work but when the serious business was over there was plenty of time for fun.

Spending the week in a white, minimally decorated, late model, air conditioned people-mover meant the guys were in for a serious amount of ribbing — what were they thinking? 

That vehicle spent plenty of time ‘under wraps’ as did the cars of the cops we met along the way. At one stage there was a playful commandeering of a local cop car, it was moved from one end of a school playing field to the other, and an attempt on the most kids in a cop car record was made. We got to 37 but struggled to get the people from Guinness to return our calls. 

The Blue Lighters joined in on a community project at Ahipara School and eagerly competed in a sports day at Dargaville High School. They helped give away bikes to kids at many of the schools we visited; some very cool GoBabyGo cars for kiddies with severe mobility issues; posed for promo shots with local radio stations; and enthusiastically helped Trekkers (and a couple of unwitting tourists) out of the sand on 90-mile beach. 

Continuing with the police theme, we also got to spend some time with old friends of the Trek, Constable Bryan and Bobby in their 8th year supporting the event and their 11th year delivering a kid-friendly vehicle safety message to young ones. Bryan and Bobby are always a hit with the kids and the mums and dads as well.

When Trekkers were not involving the local police in hijinks there was the ferry to Russell to negotiate and more exceptional back-road driving. And yes, that is Tom Sharplin on the big 1960 Seagrave — Tom is a Trekker from way back!

Official route of the 2017 Trillian Trek:
19th March Day 1 — Matamata to Orewa
20th March Day 2 — Orewa to Dargaville
21st March Day 3 — Dargaville to Omapere
22nd March Day 4 — Omapere to Taipa/Coopers Beach
23rd March Day 5 — Taipa to Taipa
24th March Day 6 — Taipa to Russell
25th March Day 7 —  Russell to Whangarei

For more information about this event, or how you can support Kiwi kids by donating, head to or visit the Trillian Trek Facebook page

Travelling companion

It’s easy to see why the Morris Minor Traveller was one of the best-loved variants of the Morris Minor. Introduced in 1953, it was equipped with the same independent torsion bar front suspension, drum brakes, and rack and pinion steering as its saloon sibling but, with their foldable rear seat increasing versatility, many Travellers were used as trade vehicles, says Derek Goddard. Derek and Gail Goddard, the owners of this superbly restored example, have run Morris Minors since before they were married in 1974.
“Our honeymoon vehicle was a blue Morris Minor van — it was a rust bucket,” says Derek.

Super Leicht Gullwing

It’s fair to say that nothing much in the classic Mercedes world gets past Mercedes-Benz Club stalwart Garry Boyce so it wasn’t surprising to learn that around 15 years ago he had sniffed out an extremely rare 300SL lightweight Gullwing as well as a 1958 300SL Roadster hiding away in the Waikato. The cars were not for sale but Garry eventually managed to persuade the owner to allow him and his restoration team to take a look at the Roadster. They discovered a very distressed but largely unmolested car. The car was so original that the body had never been off the chassis, meaning most of the parts and fittings were still present and correct, as they had been fitted by the factory.