Me & My Car: From farm gate to business date
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You’re driving a 2011 Land Rover Defender?
Yes, a 110 with a smile. It is black, has a bike and roof rack and the only modification is a rear view camera. I bought it new in 2011 from Archibald & Shorter in Greenlane.
It’s a manual six-speed gearbox. You feel connected to it when changing gears. Going on a trip, it’s often about enjoying the journey and not about how quick you get there. From a business point of view you can pack a lot in, it can get you into remote places and can take you from the Matakana Botanicals farm gate to the high street with ease.
How does it suit your personality?
I have an appreciation for iconic brands and design. It’s rugged, practical and ready for adventure.
Do you go off-road?
Occasionally I head up into the hills around Matakana and I can often be seen towing a box trailer or my Stabicraft boat, the Landy of the sea.
Who else drives your Defender?
Quite a few friends with shiny SUVs or Range Rovers secretly want to drive it but are at a loss with the manual gears and windows. My twin daughters, however, were driving it at 12 around the property.
Is this your dream vehicle?
I am very happy with this but one day would like an old, ex-army, long-wheelbase Landy with a ragtop.
What do you always have in your Defender?
Our Great Barrier Island Bee Co sunscreen and lip balm, a tow rope, tie downs, first-aid kit and fire extinguisher ... safety first.
How often do you clean it?
I have my own type of Washworld so occasionally do it myself if I have a special guest or occasion. However, when it goes in for a service, it gets a proper valet.
Do you prefer manual vehicles?
The Defender comes only in manual. But if I’m in a city and renting a car I will get an auto.
Who taught you drive?
My uncle taught me to drive a Massey Ferg early on and then my mother graduated me into a car at 14. I sat my licence at Glen Innes a week after my 15th birthday and failed the practical first time.
I was so nervous at the thought of having a policeman sitting next to me, I broke out in a huge sweat.
Your most memorable road trip?
There have been a few but I had one great evening driving down Muriwai Beach by myself with the sun dropping into the ocean, all windows down and Lenny Kravitz playing. The other was with my daughters, heading up the mountain road from Ohakune to Turoa after a big dump of snow.
The trees in the forest were loaded with snow and then we broke through the treeline to see this spectacular mountain. Moments like these remind you what an amazing place we live in.
If you could go on a road trip anywhere in the world with any celebrity?
David Byrne of Talking Heads. I love his music, it reminds me of many great coastal trips, and he is an interesting character. We would play Road to Nowhere but would drive to my place at Matakana where he would perform for a group of friends.
Great day trip out of Matakana?
Driving up to Pakiri Beach provides awesome coastal views out to Little and Great Barrier Islands. At the top of the hill you can look south to Kawau and Rangitoto islands, to the north you see all the way up to Whangarei Heads. Stop in at the Sawmill at Leigh or Matakana to refuel yourself.
Other drivers ... what irritates you most?
I cannot stand it when you’re on the highway in busy/crawling holiday season traffic and a passing lane comes up and all normal people just remain in the left lane holding their place, but some turkey decides to come up the passing lane and then expects to get let in at the end. Shame on you.