Accelerate: Driving New Zealand

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.

From some uniquely Kiwi stories, to the search for sustainable alternatives, this exhibition breaks down complex technological processes and explores the innovative thinking and Kiwi-can-do attitude we’re renowned for.

Accelerate brings a new perspective to the MOTAT collection, exploring the challenges, technologies, societal impacts, and culture associated with automobiles. It revisits some of our most cherished vehicles, whilst introducing new vehicles and the stories of the people who love them, and showcasing life-changing technologies.

This one’s for the petrol heads, tech enthusiasts, history buffs, and future thinkers alike. The exhibition collates an impressive collection of objects, audio visuals, and interactives which collectively reflect the significance of vehicle technology historically, socially, and culturally, with emphasis on looking forward to the future and embracing change.

Accelerate: Driving New Zealand is a long-term exhibition with feature objects scheduled to be switched out over time, offering visitors new and exciting reasons to revisit this thought-provoking exhibit.


Featuring two new Kiwi car industry innovators on display


1991 Nissan Silvia

Pictured above: The Nissan Silvia in in action with its previous paint work. See it in Accelerate sporting its striking new blue paint job. 

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.


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.