Shitbox Rally NZ drops top marks for Woodville’s fabulous Ferry Reserve, and its resident Lions.

by Warren Jones | 
Monday 22nd February 2016
Organisers obviously left very little to chance. A small fleet of tandem car recovery trailers make up the 'sweeper' team, and they certainly were well kitted up.

 While some may smile at the thought this is perhaps not the very first time Australia may have exported such a product to our shores, it very much is a first in that such a name has been applied to a car rally; to our knowledge. 

Yet, it has to be said, this was a collection of great community-spirited people, all gathered together to do something big. Gnarly and awesome too, from what we saw, as our local community joined forces to make their overnight stay at Woodville’s Ferry Reserve a real success. 

'Themed chariots were very much in evidence. This being the lego man, but not any gentleman at all. Seems he had been taking lessons from the team of 'Breaking Bad!' 

The rally is something of a unique form of motoring competition, one well-regarded and valued in Australia. The Shitbox rally is not a race, rather a challenge to achieve the unthinkable: to drive cars worth $1,700 over much of New Zealand’s central North Island, via some of its most arduous roads, all in the name of charity. It is a fund-raising event, supporting cancer research.

So, how did it come about that so many Shitboxes would be stopping in our reserve down between the bridges?

Ferry Reserve has quite possibly never seen anything quite like the first NZ running of the 'Shitbox' Rally.
Woodville Lions, with assistance from several Tararua and District colleagues, plus a contingent from Ballance School, combined forces to answer Reserves Committee Chair, Ron Mabey’s question, “Could we provide a quality full breakfast and packed lunch service; albeit to a load of hungry Australian (and, maybe) some Kiwi rally enthusiasts too?” 

Still dark when Woodville Lions ignited the field kitchen.

The task would be to deliver a cracker breakfast and take-away lunch-pack for each and every one of the 120-odd participants in the inaugural running of Australia’s well-known Shitbox Rally in New Zealand. Oh, and for their 20-odd party of support, admin and media crews, too. 

Again, a great and positive example of our local communities, at work together and in action, as both groups were very grateful for such an opportunity to run such an interesting and worthy fund-raiser.

John and Darren, two very popular Woodvilleans, display finesse on the hotplates, employing recipes and techniques so secret we dare not divulge. They may well deal to us, were we so to do!

Lions flying BBQ squad again proved their culinary strengths, as substantial breakfasts of bacon, eggs, tomatoes and hash browns, with coffee and tea to follow, were taken up eagerly by our guests. Much positive comment around the improvised ‘ute-deck’ tables suggested all involved had hit the spot, and done so in a way the visitors enjoyed very much. 

'The Cruise Brothers'. Reforming the Band seemed quite achieveable, given the way smooth turn-out of Shitboxers, Andrew McKay & David Parker of QLD and the way they were running. Laundry could be a hazard, however!

In just the same vein, Ballance School stepped up to bring intelligent woman-power (and brainpower too) to the formidable task of making up 140+ nutritious and enjoyable lunch-packs. 

Some of the 'Belles of Ballance' (school, that is) put finishing flourish to some 140 packed lunches they had made, keeping Rally entrants fed, and watered too, even down to water bottles proudly promoting our wonderful Tararua playground. (Thanks, Lianne)

Rally Organiser, Annie Morris, said “We (and our rallyists) have been completely blown away by the quality and value of support you have given our first NZ venture, while we over-nighted here in Woodville. None of our teams are leaving without having been both impressed and surprised by the beauty of your place, and the service you have given us”.

Woodville Lions Clup President Peter, and Shitbox Organiser Annie Morris clearly happy with the way things were going. Most impressive part was seeing such diversity in vehicles actually working well!

Just a few short hours in the company of this year’s ‘Shitbox’ team did much to foster more harmonious and productive trans-tasman relations. It also enabled a significant number of community volunteers feel real good, as they worked for a whole raft of good causes. Some of us might even have forgiven their cricketers for the drubbing they gave NZ in Wellington just a day earlier.

Aussie dictionary never disappoints! Queenslander drivers, Tammy and Greg, possibly didn't know their breakfast was in the hands of some of our nation's grittiest and gnarly sheep farmers!  Or perhaps it was just another steak-out, after all.

Local tourism and hospitality operators should note that a number of entrants have already indicated an intention to return, in the future, so as to experience our place and its hidden gems another time, albeit just a tad more leisurely next time around. 

Calling the shots are Shitbox Shooters Luisa and colleague. Having a full media crew along generates great opportunities that are just made for social media, even if the pros are a tad gun-shy!

The whole event real brought a new dimension to one of our community’s most popular recreational spaces, totally validating all the great work being done to enhance the area by our Reserves Committee, and Councils. The ‘Shitbox’ Rally 2016 brought colour, vibrancy, entertainment and no small amount of economic benefit to our region. 

It also highlighted the value our whole region is able to access in our fabulous recreational asset that is Ferry Reserve.

Final frame goes to QLD'rs, Jodie and Lisa, the 'Mums on the Run' team, with their well-marked steed. Given each team was allowed only 60 minutes to dress their vehicle, an amazingly high standard of entertainment was achieved. Well done all!
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