Author(s): Todd Niall
This is the home of the Trekka - the only vehicle to be designed and mass produced in New Zealand. Some 2,500 were built between 1966 and 1973. Only a few dozen remain roadworthy.
Part social history, part motor industry nostalgia, the Trekka Dynasty follows threads from the start of the 1900's which wove together to create New Zealand's only homegrown production motor vehicle. These threads include the enterprise of English carpenter Arthur Turner and his stepson Noel, the all-powerful grip in which post-war New Zealand Governments held the manufacturing industry, and the myriad of controls which created the most distorted new car market in the western world. All would converge in the 1960's to give birth to the Trekka, an awkward jeep-like vehicle with Kiwi clothing and a communist heart. For a time, a new motor vehicle was finally within the grasp of nearly every New Zealander. And from there the world.
More than a car story, it's a long-forgotten chapter of New Zealand history, interweaving the fortunes of the wheeling-and-dealing Turner family, New Zealand's industrial ambitions, and the paranoia of the Cold war era, in which even car manufacturers became 'subjects of interest' for spies.