MOTAT Celebrates Kiwi Car Industry Innovators

This week MOTAT has bid farewell to Mercury’s EVIE and welcomed the arrival of two new additions to its award-winning exhibition Accelerate: Driving New Zealand.

The new vehicles shine a light on how innovators within our local car industry are using their skills to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary for their customers.


1991 Nissan Silvia - Previously owned by Kenjo Chan, an original member of New Zealand’s first drift group, Nizan Drift and Drag Club, this vehicle is now part of automotive impresario Azhar Bhamji’s personal collection.

In 2005 Dynamic Automotive transformed the car further, making it one of the first NZ based drift cars to be built with only genuine Japanese accessories.

As a devotee of drift racing, Azhar Bhamji found a way to share his passion for this street sport through his event company 4 and Rotary. They run events throughout New Zealand drawing huge crowds and showcasing vehicles the latest and greatest modifications.    

Azhar’s Nissan Silvia is often seen playing the role of ‘safety car’ at his events, being first onto the track to test the track conditions ahead of the competition rounds.

And it’s a family affair as Azhar’s 1991 Nissan Silvia replaces his brother’s Mazda RX7 previously on display.

Also arriving on 1 July …

A Rod Milner modified 2017 Toyota Sienta Welcab - Rod Milner Motors in Auckland has been helping all Kiwis get behind the wheel since 1982.

The team fit out cars and vans for those with mobility needs. From wheelchair lifts to hand-controlled accelerator and brake systems, Rod Milner, his son Darren and their team have myriad ways to make motoring accessible.

Rod’s interest in accessible transport arose when his wife Lee was diagnosed with breast cancer. She needed to use a wheelchair but there were not many accessible vehicles available in New Zealand.

After her death, Rod, a car salesman, imported two Japanese vehicles specifically designed for mobility access. When they sold almost immediately Rod knew he’d found an important gap in the market. The company now focuses entirely on mobility vehicles to buy or rent.

This new display vehicle shows how technology and ingenuity can come together to make transport a comfortable and accessible reality for all.  

Be sure to check out the video in the exhibition too. This short story introduces Auckland mum Kate Paterson and her Rod Milner modified car, which has given the her the life-changing freedom to drive directly from her wheelchair.

Accelerate: Driving New Zealand was recently awarded the premier prize at the 2019 Museums Aotearoa Awards in the category of ‘Exhibition Excellence: Science and Technology’.

MOTAT’s exhibition Accelerate: Driving New Zealand, is at the museum’s Great North Rd site until 2020. The exhibition delves into New Zealand’s intimate relationship with vehicles by showcasing iconic classics like Bruce McLaren’s Cooper Climax and Sir Edmund Hillary’s Trans-Antarctic Massey Ferguson tractor alongside a changing line up of contemporary cars.

These two new additions both focus on celebrating kiwi ingenuity and are sure to capture the imaginations of all who visit over the coming months.



For media enquiries and further information, images or to schedule interview opportunities, please contact:

Rebecca Hendl-Smith - Communications Advisor
Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT)
MB 021 626 957