Parapara Road celebrations

A Sunbeam Tiger flies past the Royal Wanganui Opera House.

March 2017 marked 100 years since the opening of the Parapara Road (SH4) which runs between Whanganui & Raetihi and through some of the most breath taking scenery in the country.

Originally it took a whopping 4.5 hours to drive the Parapara Road and was a remarkable achievement for the motorcar at the time. Thankfully, nowadays, you’ll reach Raetihi in just over an hour. The Parapara Road provides a vital link for farmers and residents of both towns.

I was lucky enough to be part of an impressive convoy of motorbikes and vintage cars travelling up this road to mark the centenary of its opening and what a treat it was! There were forty vintage cars on display, dozens of motorbikes and folks were dressed for the occasion too. We stopped in at Camp Raukawa for morning tea and it was a great opportunity to marvel at those amazing cars! Then it was on to Raetihi where the convoy paraded through the main street. After a few hours in Raetihi the convoy returned to Whanganui with an afternoon tea stop at historic Upokongaro. Whanganui’s Mayor, Hamish McDouall, joined in the celebrations, riding in a 1920 Dodge Tourer as part of the convoy.

Mayor Hamish McDouall and son Bede travelled in a 1920 Dodge Tourer.

The Parapara Road is one of many examples of the rich history we have here in Whanganui. Whanganui’s annual Vintage Weekend celebrates this history with a number of different events over Wellington’s Anniversary weekend. Our Vintage Weekend is Whanganui’s premier heritage event offering entertainment for anyone who loves cars, food, music and anything to do with history and heritage.


Vintage cars on display at the beautiful Camp Raukawa.

A complete heritage experience and you might just spot a vintage car…..or ten! Check out the Visit Whanganui site for more great information on visiting the area.

– Debbie Alexander.