Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for attending this annual general meeting of our Club. Membership of the Club on 31st of March stood at 91, down from approximately 100 members at the same time last year. We’re gaining new members on a frequent basis but also losing existing members. Members departing have told us that they are no longer owners of Mercedes-Benz cars while others have moved out of our district or feel that age is against them. We welcome the new members and farewell those who are moving on.

The current aim of the Club is to provide at least one event for members each month. We have met this goal during the past year; there have been 5 runs, 3 dinners, 4 lunches, 1 cocktail party, 2 car shows, 2 visits to museums and one ferry ride to Waiheke. A proposed grass gymkhana at Ruakaka had to be called off due to heavy rain. All these events have taken a lot of organizing and all have been well attended.

The highlight of the year was the hosting of the National Club’s 40th Anniversary celebrations in Auckland. Sponsored by Mercedes-Benz Stuggart, the weekend commenced on Friday night with a super cocktail party at Garry Boyce’s garage in Parnell, attended by 120 people from all over the country. I would like to thank Garry and Allison for providing the venue, the superb display of cars and for all their help given so freely. Our members handled the food and wine requirements, and my wife Kath assembled the troops with Chief Lieutenant Lyn Hood and a capable team who made the whole thing look easy. On the Saturday some 70 people were ferried across to Waiheke Island for a superb lunch at The Goldwater Estate, and this was followed with a formal dinner at Sails Restaurant where 100 nationwide members saw magazine editor Eddy Fischer being awarded a Mercedes-Benz Gold Star for his services to the club.

Committee member Bill Bray organized an excellent mid winter dinner at the Thai Flame and is currently busy organizing the next one at The Surrey Hotel. Grahame Boot took us on “The Great South Runaround” to the firth of Thames. Greg Lokes organized The Western Run to Riverhead, via the Muriwai gannet colony, finishing up with an enjoyable meal at the Riverhead Pub. The Vankan family once again made their home available for our Christmas party and Chris Haliday organized the Spit Roast Company to provide a well-liked lunch on the veranda. Chris Haliday also organized a ‘sunset dinner’ at Kariotahi Beach, where we had to work for our supper on the way to the restaurant by picking up roadside objects and competing for a prize. The final event of the year was the overnight run to Whangarei where we have Frank & Lyn Parker to thank for a magnificent pig on the spit lunch, and where we were joined by local American car enthusiasts who gave us a very warm welcome and did their best to shelter us from the torrential rain.

Your committee have met eleven times this year to map out our progammes and attend to the day-to-day business of running the Club. Vice President Garry Boyce has once again been the major revenue earner and thanks to his efforts at the Ellerslie Intermarque event in February we will be banking our best cheque ever as a result of Garry and the Intermarque committee. Barbara Lokes hasn’t missed a beat in keeping everyone and everything right up to the mark with her efficient administration. She has slotted in to her new job very much to everyone’s delight and satisfaction, well done Barbara! Treasurer Thomas has been his usual efficient self, balancing the books, editing our magazine contributions and attending to membership administration. Thomas is not seeking re-election and I will now ask for a round of applause as an appreciation for all his work over the past few years. Our new magazine editor, Alison Lambden, hasn’t been on the job long but is up and running and providing fresh ideas for the club – great to have you on board Alison! Barry Bollington has developed a liking for magazine contributions and Graeme Collie is busy organizing an Economy Run which will be a lot of fun. Old hands Brian Hood and Ken Williams are always on hand when a job needs doing and continue to contribute to a club they know so well. Baji Antia handled the Galaxy of Cars with his usual military precision and got an enjoyable day away to a cracking start.

I have now served three terms as president of the Auckland Club and it is time for fresh blood and fresh ideas so I will not be seeking re-election. I have received some wonderful privileges whilst being your president and have met new friends and nice people in many places. Thank you for allowing me to take this opportunity and I wish you all a continuing happy and long membership in our club.

David Winn