These 16mm films were made by Tainui Robins (1902-1989) who was a member of the Canterbury Mountaineering Club, NZ Alpine Club and Canterbury Winter Sports Club. The films were screened to members and at public lectures. Mr Robins would often accompany the film with commentary.
017:42 Ford vehicle with people standing on the runner boards, and another person sitting on the roof while travelling along mountain gravel roads.
017:58 Tainui Robins steps aside so that Mrs Fergusson can board Ford vehicle.
018:04 Model T Ford racing [around near the Bealey Pub]. A young lady flags the vehicle down and it turns directly into a paddock, where they let loose, tearing around the paddock, lose the hood, bonnet, kick out the windscreen and finally the vehicle catches fire.
Notes from interview with filmmaker: “In my youth we took 3 cars up the Waimakariri, from the Bealey hotel up to Carrington hut - 12 miles straight up the river bed. No road, no track, nothing. Our first attempt was in 1938 in a Ford we bought for five pounds. It had no registration and no brakes, so we had to sneak up in the dark so no one could see us. On the steep bits on the way up to the Bealey we’d tie a rope onto one of the other cars as a safety precaution, to stop the Ford running away on us. It only got about a mile up the river from the Bealey. The clutch kept slipping - everything kept slipping - then the whole outfit caught fire and the hood got burnt off. We reckoned it suffered a lot of depreciation after that - it’d be worth only about 30 bob. So we took off sufficient parts to recover our 5 pound and then pushed it over the river bank”.
019:19 (B&W) It’s all eyes on the vehicle parked outside the Hotel, until suddenly Harry Walker demonstrates how to do wheelies in his Chevy. More exciting footage of these lads up to all sorts of antics in their vehicle.
020:34 At Arthur’s Pass [by Cobergers Slip]. Below the Canterbury Mountaineering Club hut. Carrying out repairs on car. Straightening tie rods for the steering. Jack Hayes and Ivan Tucker on the starting handle.
Car being towed [by Tainui Robins]. Group give up on driving and remove the tyres to push car over the bank above the railway. Abandoned car lies upside down over stream, as train passes by.
023:13 (COL) The new Bealey Hotel (which met a similar fate to the previous hotel).
023:16 Riding on a new Dodge truck in the paddock. Tainui Robin’s car parked in paddock.
1939- Dodge truck traveling over [Klondyke] Flats and proceeding up to Turkey Flat.
024:11 Allan Stanton and Ivan Tucker at the wheel.
024:14 Brian Mason. Tainui Robins into the drivers seat and they’re off again. Pulling off the car roof. Reaching the Anti Crow Flats. Nearing the Big Bend below Greenlaw Creek.
026:33 (B&W) The vehicle heads towards the Anti Crow and fords the Jordan River. Men up to their antics again remove the roof of the truck and Dr Brian Mason attempts to crank start the truck. Then it’s everyone on board for the journey.
026:35 Men chopping trees down. Pulling truck across [Harper] creek using rope. Once on the bank the truck catches alight..
028:28 Men leave Carrington Hut for home. Several men standing up through roof of car, wave as they drive by.
Notes from interview with filmmaker: “Next time we tried to get a dodge truck up the river, in 1939. The brakes worked this time, but it wasn’t registered so we had to sneak up again at night. Got a long way with the Dodge - 10 miles up the river, only 2 miles from our destination, Carrington hut. At that point the magneto ignition got wet and we stalled. Got her out with a rope. I got the mag out, dried it and put it back in, but I timed it incorrectly and the vacuum tank caught fire. I can see it now. We had all the cartridges for our guns on the floor and they kept exploding. We had to get out of it, up into the bush until all that business finished. then we dragged the Dodge up to higher ground and came back in 2 weeks time to get it. When we got there, nothing to be seen. The river had risen and changed course. So that was the end of the Dodge”.
028:53 (COL) Easter 1940 - the mountaineering boys about to go away decided to tramp up Mt Enys. Johnny Pascoe, his fiance Dorothy and her father, Cliff Holdsworth were among the group.
029:33 The boys leave the Bealey Hotel in a sports model Buick.
031:45 (B&W) Scenes as they make their way up to Carrington Hut. Front of old Buick and car maintenance. Its not an easy ride for the group as they travel from [Klondyke] Flat to Turkey Flat, crossing the Jordan river along the way.
Camping overnight on flat [just above the Anti Crow]. More repairs on car. Towards Greenlaw Creek. Camping again opposite Mount Stewart, and more car repairs and driving finally leaving the dog in charge of the car, as they make their way up to camp. Ends with camp scene.
Notes from interview with filmmaker: “We were back at it by Easter 1940. We bought a Buick 3 seater, an expensive car - cost us 8 pounds because she was registered. Took us 2 days to get up to Big Bend, with all sorts of happenings en route of course. The carburettor would get full of water, but that didn’t stop us. I’d just take it out, tip out the cockabullies and off we’d go again. Then we had to stop in mid river to shift some boulders, and the car wouldn’t go again. Petrol tank was empty! We were 8 miles from the petrol station and 4 miles from our destination. We walked back to the Bealey hotel, bought 2 gallons of petrol and one gallon of beer. We finally got within sight of Carrington hut but a stone went through the crank case and we stopped dead. We walked back out to the Bealey. That was the finish of our motoring experience up the Waimakariri. That car was up at the hut for years, until larrikins shot holes in her”.