Things Well Made / by craig levers

We Have a National Obsession With Roadys

I love them! Childhood memories of booting down to Kaiaua to visit the cousins, Dad at the helm of his purple Cortina mk 3, us kids smearing up the beige vinyl of the back seat with giant hokey pokey scoops from Pokeno. The inevitable "Are we there yet". 

This led to teenage adventuring with friends on surf trips, everywhere is new, everywhere is one to tick off the list and most definitely transferred to the Coming Back Soon list. 

When I was a bugged eyed grommet, Raglan was a place of lore. We had heard stories of heavy locals throwing stones at you while you sit in the line-up, of them crapping on your car bonnet [and the air vents] as a very clear message as to your place in the pecking order. Horrifying accounts of failed Jump rock launches and low tide keel haulings over the Ledge. But Raglan is a rite of passage for NZ surfers, you have to go, in fact you have to thrive. 

Whanga, just a cheeky 22 years ago. [click the image to see it bigger] 

Then Da' Bar, then Shippies, then Gizzy, then Stent; places you've heard about from other young surfers get added to the lists. And then you go global. 

People often say I'm lucky with my work and history, of going from those grom years to be paid to go on and document surf roadys. I loved doing it, no, I love doing it. It has always effected the decisions around the vehicle purchases, from the Holden HR station wagon [with the mandatory mattress in the back] to 4x4's. To now, over the last few years, 4x4's with mattresses in the back too.

The mighty Hi Ace 4x4 hi-top camper

To me, a self contained, go [just about] anywhere camper is a natural evolution in the great Kiwi Roady. Three years ago the commitment was made and adventures were created with the Hi Ace 4x4 Camper. It was a considered dabble, a dip the toes in, to see if camper van life was all it is cracked up to be. Turns out, it is that and even more. I once quipped the Hi Ace camper was the most expensive camera accessory I've ever bought, it's also proved to be one of the best.

If you look super closely, the Hi Ace is parked up. 

And then the thought process evolves; how can this experience be even better, how can roadys be longer and more comfortable? Well, this is how....

Meet the new beast, a 4.2 ton, 6.3 metre long, 6 lt V8, 2002 Chevy Silverdao 4x4. It's a Ex St John snow Ambulance that started it's commission in Ranfurly and ended it's service in the Christchurch earthquakes. It's a noble beast.

In service 2005

More room, more grunt... just MORE. 

It has meant tearing the bandaid off and selling the Hi Ace, no fib, it was hard to say goodbye, but you have move on right? 

Naturally, buying the Chevy, meant a road trip to pick it up and start the all important road trials- Kaikoura turned on an epic dawn as we headed home. 

Things Well Made

Bespoke and handmade have been popular catch cries of the last few years. The maker movement is in full swing as a reaction to mass produced- same as everyone one else consumables. Westside's Southern Anchor is a prime example of this movement, bespoke, sustainable products made with care, made by hand. 

Meet Beau, one half of the Southern Anchor 

And one of Southern Anchor's bespoke leather wallets- thanks guys- I love it! 

Check out more of Southern Anchor's fine works HERE




Ahhh, and here's the tribute to the last roady the Hi Ace made happen. The Northern tip of the North Island- as far as you can drive in NZ.  

Just click on the image to see it large