Me and My Car: Geoff Thomas
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Geoff Thomas, journalist and presenter of Rheem Outdoors with Geoff
What do you drive?
A white automatic 2015 Toyota Hilux ute. It is perfect for our outdoor activities: towing a boat, heading into the hills or along a beach. I can get all our gear plus two deer and three wild pigs in the back. Today's Hilux models are a combination of the rugged 4WD which has such a strong history in this country, sedan-style comfort, acceleration and power on the motorway and fuel economy.
Any modifications for hunting/shooting/fishing?
I have a rubber mat which fits the tray in the back and stops camera cases, fish boxes and other gear sliding around. That mat has been through close to 20 new vehicles. You can pull it out and hose out the back to get rid of the sand and blood. Brilliant!
Who else drives your Hilux?
My cameraman when returning from a filming trip. I drive there and he sometimes drives home. Might have something to do with the hospitality which local fishermen and hunters always seem to press upon you.
What do you always have in your car?
A piece of rope, which gets used in a multitude of ways, and a set of jumper leads.
A 1937 Austin 7 which cost $50. That was in 1968 and I was a cadet reporter on the Auckland Star . When we loaded the new baby and headed off to visit in-laws on the Shore, it wouldn't make it up the harbour bridge if the wind was blowing the wrong way.
Who taught you to drive?
My uncle on a farm at Karaka. I was about 14 and the car was a blue Hillman Minx with a column shift. When I got my licence I was allowed to drive my mother's Austin A35. You couldn't get into trouble with those English cars. They were solid as the proverbial brick and didn't go fast enough to do much damage. I feel sorry for today's youngsters where one slight miscalculation can be fatal.
Your dream car?
I've often thought I would like to have a new car like a Jag, Audi, Beemer or Merc at least once before I head off to the great fishing hole somewhere (I don't think it's actually in the sky). But then you think about our roads and unless you are on the autobahn, what's the point?
Manual or automatic?
Automatic because it is so smooth, and I'm a touch lazy.
Most memorable road trip?
We were with a group of the Crusaders (a lot of the footy boys love their hunting and fishing) hunting in the hills out of Kaikoura. I had three in the back, just young guys starting out, and I heard one: 'You know you've really made it when you get on Outdoors with Geoff.' I was chuffed.
If you could go anywhere, with any celebrity, in any car ...
It's pretty hard to improve on Rachel Hunter and Richie [McCaw], who have been out with us often. We've had some interesting people visit New Zealand for fishing, Jack Nicklaus and Larry Hagman. What is more important is taking people who have never been on the water and getting them their first fish.
Great day trip out of Auckland?
Living in Auckland and travelling so much, we like sticking around town. But a good day out is to the west coast, or heading out on the harbour for a fish.
Would you rather drive in Auckland or take public transport?
I drive. But working from home I am able to avoid peak traffic.
What is your take on Auckland's traffic?
I sometimes tell people: the fishing you have now is like the traffic in Auckland. It is the best you are going to see. Politicians only ever try to catch up, and they never do. I am a fan of cars because Auckland's geography doesn't lend itself to rail. Bus services should be expanded. And get rid of those stupid lights at motorway on-ramps and synchronise other lights.