As my second year as Club President comes to an end, and also now experiencing other car clubs and such like (more about that later!), I can see both the similarities and differences between them both.

The members of all the clubs are just as passionate about their cars, there are members who are regulars at events, members who go to one or two things a year, and those who seem to be happy just receiving their club magazine in the post or via email.

All have a mix of old and new cars in them and proudly display all at car shows, events and concours. There is the same mix of social and competitive members, and those who prefer to drive than park. All have their needs catered for by their active committees.

So, what is different about being part of the Mercedes-Benz Club Auckland?

It’s the family atmosphere that we have nurtured over time and the fact we don’t have many of hundreds of members to cater for. Our club isn’t so big that you feel lost amongst all the cars at an event. We also organise most of our events on our own and we have more than one per month. For those of you who are either regular or occasional attendees, hopefully you have experienced the welcome and conversation both committee members and club members extend to everyone.

We like to think that when we get together it is like a family reunion.

Oh, and believe it or not, our members aren’t as old as in other clubs either!

Talking about committees and events, like most other clubs, our committee is guided by our membership and their event preferences so, please, if you have any ideas as to what type of events you would like us to organise, please let us know. We do try and mix things up and arrange different activities which, hopefully appeal to most of our members.

As a committee, our main efforts centre around maintaining an active membership and ensure there is at least one event for our members to participate in each month. In fact, we are now having two or more events in some months.

We have also actively included our fellow Midlands Club (and they us) in a few outings, which we probably need to do more of.

Over the past 12 months we have organised or attended 20 events as well as 1 national event and 1 international event.

We kicked off July last year with a poignant and emotional Brian Hood Memorial Scavenger Hunt where a few stories about Brian were told and his wife Lynn was part of the winning team for the Scavenger Hunt. It was a close run thing with a three-way tie break decided by the assembly and subsequent flight of paper darts

Also in July was a well-attended run to John Raynor’s eclectic car collection in Te Aroha where we met up with some members of our Midlands Club.

August had two events, firstly, our annual Prize-giving where we honoured our own long-standing club members of 20 years or longer with a gold name badge.

Our second event in August really got the blood running with an escorted run on a couple of Targa NZ stages around the Waikato where a few egos may have been bruised by losing the lead vehicle – a very well-driven Mazda diesel ute. And only a few cars got lost which I think was a pretty good result!

September had one event which was our West Waikato wander to Raglan via some very scenic roads and lunch in Raglan.

October brought a run up and down the newly-opened toll road North to Warkworth and back, ending up at the Riverhead pub for lunch. We are all assuming the appropriate tolls incurred have all been paid since.

Labour Weekend was an overnight run to New Plymouth and Ohakune. We also met up with some of our Midlands Club members who joined us. There were visits to a diverse range of atttractions – from Christmas Shops to a Holden Museum.

In November we organised our second annual driver skills event in the North Harbour Stadium carpark where there was much competitive hilarity involving things like buckets, cones, tennis balls, plastic cups and poles.

We also joined the MR2 club for a Christmas Charity Toy Run to Vision West in Glen Eden. Every attendee was asked to bring along a children’s toy to donate and displayed their own grown up toy in an unofficial car show where the public voted for the best car. This turned out to be Ken William’s MB220.

We returned to the Brigham in Whenuapai for our annual Christmas Dinner in December which was moved indoors because of the weather. The damp conditions didn’t stop many of our members, however, decorating their cars and themselves in Christmas appropriate attire.

The New Year brought two events in January – The annual combined Midlands/Auckland Club attendance at the Coromandel Keltic Fair the day after New Year’s Day, where those who had recovered enough from their New Years celebrations enjoyed a stunning day out.

And Lunch and a Movie at Ryders in Avondale. Ryders had been badly affected by the Auckland Anniversary Weekend floods and had to shut down for 10 months to get operational again. It was great to support a local business and everyone enjoyed watching the Pixar movie Cars in the (thankfully) air-conditioned movie theatre after a delicious roast meal.

March saw our usual club presence at two major car events – The Ellerslie Classic Car Show where the literal star of our club display was Garry’s 1957 300SL. Personally I was honoured to be invited to polish Garry’s car on it’s arrival. I think a good enough job was done because it was a constant source of attention throughout the day.

The Brit & Euro was held a week later at Lloyd Ellsemore Park in Pakuranga where our club display survived a few storms – one just as the club marquee was being packed away. Luckily no-one was carried away by the wind gusts!

March was a busy time as we also held our Annual Grass Gymkhana and Show n Shine event at Rod and Shanlee Milner’s ranch out by Clevedon. Unlike last year, the gynmkhana itself was held on a dry paddock were times on the two course got quicker as the day progressed. We also had a wide variety of cars and machinery take part, including Henry the Honda farm utility.

Before the competition took part in earnest, a Show n Shine was held on the front lawn and sweeping driveway at the Milner ranch which complemented the cleaned and polished examples of Mercedes-Benz engineering parked there.

Once more, we can’t thank Shanlee and Rod enough for their hospitality and hope we are invited back next year.

In April we had a Sunset Run out to Piha where we got to Piha in good time to walk out on the beach before ending the day with a delicious meal at the Piha Surf Club from the balcony which gave us a lovely view of the sunset.

Which brings us to May where, there were five further events to finish the year off.

The annual National Club AGM was held in Christchurch which a few of us Zoomed in to.

We held our Third Annual Ladies Run where our male members are encouraged to give the keys to their significant others. This year there were two ways to get to the final destination – a scenic route and a fast route to choose from. Everyone ended up at Brick Bay to enjoy a meal and a wander around the amazing sculpture garden there.

We had a day run to the Coroglen Tavern via the new bridge that has replaced the old road that was swept way last year. After a lunch and catch up with some Midlands Club people who joined us at the tavern, at least one of us chose to navigate the faster and notorious 309 road over the Coromandel Ranges. Which really isn’t as bad as legend suggests. Although it is largely unsealed and very narrow in places.

Our fourth event was a run to FigJam in the Domain at Tahuna in the Waikato where there was live music, food trucks and arts & Crafts stalls to enjoy.

Finally, a number of our more intrepid club members attended the Australian Mercedes-Benz Club Annual Rally in the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. Apart from a few last minute flight changes by Air New Zealand all our club representatives made it to Noosa and enjoyed the hospitality from our Australian counterparts.

We may see this reciprocated at our own National Rally on March next year which is being hosted and run by our own Auckland Club.

And we end the year today with our AGM here at The Remuera Club.

Which is a very full year, I’m sure you will agree!

In closing, I’d like to thank our club committee for their enthusiasm and time in helping to organise these events over the last 12 months – it’s a real pleasure working with like-minded people who always have the best interests of our members at heart.

And, most importantly, thank you to our members – because without you and your support we simply wouldn’t have a club!

I would also like to acknowledge the committee members who are standing down.

Richard Foulkes is joining the brain drain across the ditch with his wife Sam. But don’t worry, I’m sure they will find a local Mercedes-Benz and/or MX-5 club to be a part of over in Straya!

Barb Lokes will no longer be in our committee, nor will she and Greg be part of the club seeing as they sold their SL earlier in the year.

Barb and her distinctive red hair has been a fixture in the club and on the committee for most of her 12 year tenure, holding various positions in her time, including Secretary, Vice President and President. Barb’s enthusiasm and encyclopaedic knowledge of the club and of members both past and present will be missed enormously!

Rod Philson is stepping down as Treasurer and is remaining on the committee. Thank you, Rod for the great job you have done as Treasurer and I’m sure the club will benefit from your ideas and drive as a committee member.

Sue Dee is stepping down as Secretary and is also remaining on the committee. Again, thank you Sue for taking our committee meeting minutes every month – which is no mean feat as we have been known to go off on a few tangents and stray from the initial discussion point on occasion! Your enthusiasm as a committee member is appreciated by everyone!

Finally, as many of you know, I am stepping down as President and leaving the club as Deepa I and no longer own a Mercedes-Benz. We first owned an SL500 and that gave way to the mighty SL63 that some of you saw disappearing into the distance on a certain Economy Run.

We both enjoyed the experience of driving two exceptional cars. But as a die-hard petrol-head I had never owned a muscle car from the States so Wolfgang gave way to Buzz, our 2017 Ford Mustang GT.

It’s been a real pleasure and an honour being your Prez. I will miss the camaraderie of being part of our committee as well as the friendliness and enthusiasm of all the members I have met along the way.


Because Life’s Too Short To Drive Boring Cars!

Mike Peters