Museum’s new vehicle exhibition goes full throttle

Revved up, fully charged, and challenging the status quo! MOTAT’s latest exhibition, Accelerate: Driving New Zealand, delves into the past, present and future of New Zealand’s relationship with vehicles.

Opening Friday 22 June, Accelerate brings a new perspective to the MOTAT road transport collection while exploring the technologies, social impacts, and culture associated with automobiles. It revisits some of the museum’s most cherished vehicles, whilst introducing new cars and the stories of the people who love them.

Enthusiasts will be delighted to see motoring legends like Bruce McLaren’s Cooper Climax, the timelessly elegant Jaguar Mark V and one of the three Massey Ferguson tractors from Sir Edmund Hillary’s triumphant Trans-Antarctic Expedition showcased alongside the rule-bending and undeniably Kiwi Trekka as well as many others. They may however be pleasantly surprised to find themselves face to face with modern day icons and objects of desire, such as the famous ‘Black Beauty’ which helped power New Zealand onto the world stage of A1 GP motor racing, and a powerfully modified Mazda RX-7 originally owned by ‘Mad Mike’, the well-known drift racer.

Having spent months researching the stories featured in Accelerate, Exhibition Curator Elspeth Hocking is looking forward to seeing the exhibition come to life. I’ve been privileged to meet some inspirational, adventurous and quirky Kiwis, who have innovated and used vehicle technology in all sorts of fascinating ways. Vehicles of all shapes and sizes really do drive New Zealand, and I can’t wait to see how stories of transport and technology continue to change and grow into the future,” says Elspeth.

Whether Kiwis are navigating the glacial landscape of Antarctica, competing on exotic race tracks around the world or cruising the suburban streets of Auckland, they have had come a long way with their vehicles and enjoyed many adventures along the way.

From building powerful fibreglass race cars in a small factory in Rotorua and thwarting government tariffs by manufacturing “homegrown” cars in Otahuhu, Kiwis have proved themselves to be vehicle technology visionaries.

Cars have no doubt shaped New Zealand’s cities and had a massive impact on society as well as our everyday lives. As a nation renowned for its “Kiwi-can-do” attitude, we have created solar-powered and autonomous vehicles, modified souped-up performance cars, and even 3D printed an electric car kit. Hard-wired to innovate, could New Zealanders be pioneers in the search for sustainable and safer alternatives in vehicle technology?

This one’s for the petrol heads, tech enthusiasts, history buffs, and future thinkers alike. The exhibition collates an impressive collection of artefacts, audiovisuals, and activities which reflect the significance of vehicle technology with an emphasis on looking forward to the future.

These machines gave our isolated nation the freedom to dream, to conquer new frontiers and to push the boundaries of convention. Where will they take us next? Discover the stories, explore the possibilities and join the conversation. Visit Accelerate: Driving New Zealand, opening 22 June.

Accelerate is a thought-provoking long-term exhibition with feature objects scheduled to be switched out periodically, giving visitors new and exciting reasons to visit time and time again.

 For more information about MOTAT and our exhibitions, please see the website:  or follow the Museum’s Facebook page.


Location: MOTAT – 805 Great North Road, Western Springs, Auckland

Dates & Times: Open daily 10am – 5pm from 22 June 2018

Normal MOTAT admission fees apply:
$45 Family Pass (2 adults, 4 children)
$19 Adults
$10 Students/children 5-16 yrs
Free for MOTAT Mates, children under 5 and SuperGold Cardholders

For further information, photos, media passes or interviews, please contact:
Vanessa Hefer
MOTAT Communications Advisor
Phone: (09) 845 3703, Mobile: (021) 340 518