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Thunderbirds are go in Waipu



T birds cars-820We remember the Beach Boys’ ‘Fun, Fun, Fun’ in the 60s featuring the T-bird, and ‘Thunderbird’ from ZZ Top in the 70s, but nothing is quite like seeing the real thing. The Ford Thunderbird was manufactured in the United States over eleven model generations from 1955.

The T-bird, as it became known, created a market niche as a sporty two-seater convertible that was originally not available to the man in the street but in 1958 it gained a second row of seats and eventually became known as the personal luxury car.

On Labour weekend the Ford Thunderbird Owners Club of NZ held their annual convention in Whangarei though members came from as far afield as Wellington and everywhere in between.

This year 14 big, long, sleek beauties joined the cavalcade hosted by Katie and Craig Palmer from Waipu.

On the Saturday the parade lined up at Waipu's Caledonian Park which earlier hosted this year's Show ‘n Shine. The public voted for their favourite car to determine the top five awards including people's choice.

“We had an astounding amount of votes and Wonderful Waipu sure gave the club a warm welcome,” said Katie Palmer.

The People's Choice award this year was handed to Paul and Sonya Oaten of Taupo for their stunning 1966 Ford Thunderbird convertible.

Katie, from Natural Beauty Skincare NZ, donated a few skincare packages, Logan McLean Cafe donated a bunch of free coffees to members, and Waipu Hammer Hardware put together a number of great prizes.

Waipu Pharmacy donated a packed hamper, and Mcleod's Brewery and Pizza Barn took members for a tour through the brewery.

The group also visited the Marsden Point Refinery Visitors Center.

Katie said she and Craig loved hosting this year to show off what the area has to offer but insist they couldn’t have done it without the help and generosity of a great community.

“All of our members were totally chuffed with their day in Waipu,” said Katie. “It certainly made me a very proud local to be able to bring our nationwide club to our little town and have them made to feel so very welcome.”

The national T-Bird owners club caused a stir when it rolled into Waipu over Labour weekend.

The Mangawhai Focus is the only 'Mangawhai' community Newspaper and is the paper of choice within the local area.

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