‘Paua Aotearoa’, adults and kids T-shirt, four colour print on navy and black fabric.

Surface Active: Making waves in a sea of sameness

Surface Active art-to-wear: T-shirts in the spirit of fun.

Surface Active made in Aotearoa, T-shirts main neck label.

Surface Active T-shirts main neck label.

By the mid 1980s T-shirts had become hot promotional items, garments on the outskirts of fashion, and a relatively new medium for the Graphic Designer’s art. What had for a long time been considered a poor medium for Graphic Design grew to an almost essential one. All you have to do is walk down the street anywhere in the world since the early 80s to see what a ubiquitous promotional vehicle they have become. If you mail out 100 potential clients a direct mail brochure perhaps 200 people will see it. But mail out, or better yet, sell 100 T-shirts, and assuming they’re at all decent looking, you launch 100 walking billboards.

The trend over the past several decades has been to embrace more casual clothing, to the point of stone-washed and distressed, though this has in no way meant this sort of clothing has become less expensive or stylish. Brand awareness, including personal brand awareness has been part of this trend—to such an extent that people want, or are at least willing to flaunt, the name of the brand or designer of their shoes, jeans, and bags on the items in question. In short clothing manufacturers made their products promotional vehicles for themselves.

Surface Active art-to-wear

Promotional teeshirts take this walking billboard concept one step further by being clothing that promotes products, services, cultural and ideological views in such a way that the wearer is willing to be identified—whether through a sense of aesthetics, humour, social responsibility, or irreverence, or loyalty to a watering hole, cultural institution, environmental organisation or charity. People are willing to wear someone else’s message because they feel it says something about themselves—which is the essence of fashion.

‘Kiwi Space Shuttle’ T-shirt, six colour print on grey marle fabric.

‘Kiwi Space Shuttle’ T-shirt, six colour print on grey marle fabric. Placement; six colour front, one colour woodcut around hem front and back.

Initially our Surface Active art-to-wear T-shirts were designed to be retailed by us and also to be wholesaled to environmental organisations such as Greenpeace and the Maruia Society, for inclusion particularly in their annual pre-Xmas direct mail catalogue campaigns and sold in their retail stores.

As design pARTners in the visual arts Chrissie Terpstra and I sought to apply our teeshirt design skills to everything from promoting small businesses and one-time events, to our Surface Active art-to-wear wildlife, Kiwiana and nuclear free collections for the likes of Wild Places and The Epicentre, Christchurch’s two ecostores, and for Greenpeace and the Maruia Society. Our market developed to include DoC visitor centres and similar conservation themed retail outlets in National Parks the length and breadth of the country, and the prestigious Te Papa store at the then brand new National Museum in Wellington. As our business and reputation grew we were commissioned by the likes of the International Antarctic Centre, Orana Park and certain DoC conservancies to design and produce custom ranges of adult and children’s shirts.

‘Adelie Penguins, Antarctica’ adult’s and children’s two colour T-shirt print on white fabric.

‘Adelie Penguins, Antarctica’ adult’s and children’s two colour T-shirt print on white fabric. Placement; Complementary graphics, two colours front and back.

This delightful collection is from our SurfaceActive Art-to-Wear range 1996–2000.

In terms of our T-shirt design itself, it evolved from straightforward application of a symbol or logo, screenprinted on the kitchen table in our flat in 1986, sometimes hand painted to finish, to approaches that treat the shirt as a canvas, involving printing the garments as piecework prior to being stitched up by local seamstresses. Whereas our early designs simply applied graphics to the front of the shirt, our designs developed into appearing on the front and back, wrap around, and encircling the hems and sleeves. Treating the T-shirt we were printing on as the design of a piece of clothing in the round. We also developed from printing initially printing white and light coloured shirts to having our locally made pure cotton garments custom dyed in vivid dark hues in small batches prior to their speciality “dark shirt” printing.

The mechanics of hand-screen printing fabric

When you are printing on cotton fabric with seams you cannot get the kind of fine detail you can printing on paper. The fabric absorbs the inks or dyes and the colour spreads through the fibres—the fabric equivalent of dot gain.

Surface Active print shop, Jewelled gecko hand pulled eight colour Teeshirt printing in progress.

With our layered or hand-separated multicolour designs the colour is laid down in areas with the hand-pulled silk-screening process, with “flash-curing” of the print between colour passes, in some cases up to 10 passes to print one garment, front, back, hem and sleeves, one colour at a time.

Fabric colour and the issue of “hand” or feel of the fabric printing inks

‘Jewel Gecko - New Zealand’ eight colour T-shirt print on dark green fabric.

‘Jewel Gecko – New Zealand’ eight colour T-shirt print on dark green fabric. Placement; Eight colour front print, one colour kowhaiwhai print front and back around hem.

The other reason other than avoiding toxic (and highly hazardous) solvents that are used for printing “Plastisol” inks, and for selecting water based inks and dyes as the better option is that of the “hand” or feel of the ink. Water-based inks have a nicer feel to them but they are more difficult to work with as they easily cure, “dry in” or clog the stencil especially in peak demand hot summer weather, rendering it useless and in need of remaking. Waterbased dyes have no “hand” to them as such as the screenprint literally dyes the light coloured fabric.

Custom designed and built in-line printing workshop

We developed a custom in-line sequential printing methodology, rather than rotary print methodology in our back-shed “sheltered workshop” to successfully overcome the drying-in drawback of waterbased printing dyes and Supercover inks. It was achieved by way of additional manual labour and an innovative use of my own design of screen holding humidifier boxes for keeping the ink and screens moist between print runs. 

‘Harlequin Gecko - New Zealand’ eight colour T-shirt print on charcoal marle fabric.

‘Harlequin Gecko – New Zealand’ eight colour T-shirt print on charcoal marle fabric. Placement; Eight colour front print, one colour woodcut print front and back around hem.

If you want to lay down a light colour on a dark shirt you have to use acrylic Super-cover inks, in some cases laying down two light coats to best build opacity while preserving detail. Flash curing in between is the only way ensure print quality is maintained throughout the print run

If your dark shirt design has a lot of solid light ink coverage you end up making something that has the feel of a bullet-proof vest when you’re wearing it. We avoided this by planning our designs to combine both ink and dye passes, colours darker than the fabric colour are dyes, lighter ones are super-opaque acrylics, all required flash curing between.

The other huge benefit with water-based inks, aside from wash-up with water, and their “thinners” being water, is that the finished garment once flashed off to the point of being touch dry is given a final cure in just 20 minutes in a domestic tumble dryer rather than a 6m long high-tech curing oven.

Surface Active wildlife collage design fabric print on bedding set.

Surface Active wildlife collage design, step and repeat one colour fabric print on custom bedding set.

Optimising the illustration workflow for easy printing and graphic quality

‘Ocean - New Zealand’ one colour children’s T-shirt print on navy blue and jade green fabric.

‘Ocean – New Zealand’ one colour children’s T-shirt print on navy blue and jade green fabric. Placement; One colour front and back. ‘Puff’ printed emboss effect ink.

One of our specialities is one colour “puff printed” designs, the so called puff inks contract when cured and so draw up the fabric surface. This has a tremendous tactile and visual effect on single colour dark shirt prints such as the Tuatara and children’s Ocean and Forest floor designs.

I developed a variation of drawing wildlife art for reproduction from classic zoology methods, using mixed media, charcoal pencil with pen and ink on coquille board to achieve a crisp “line and tone” effect from one colour “line” images.

Garment prices scaled with print cost

With hand-pulled screen printing the cost of printing a batch of shirts scales with the number being produced up to a certain point, set-up and clean-up time being equal regardless of quantity. The number of graphic “placements” (a graphic on the front is one placement, front and back, two placements, etc.), and the number of colours, type of ink used,. per graphic also determines the printing cost.

Regarding the gallery and our T-shirt models

As with other some portfolios on the site Archive the over 40 designs included here are collected from the period between 1988–2002 of our Surface Active printed garment editions. I have made no effort to force the shirts into defined categories; rather, I present them in a manner intended to inspire and entertain—an approach appropriate to the spirit of fun that T-shirts represent.

‘Weta - New Zealand’ T-shirt, adults and kids, on oatmeal and grey marle fabric.

‘Weta – New Zealand’ T-shirt, adults and kids, on oatmeal and grey marle fabric. Adult garment a six colour print. Placement; piecework, front, back and sleeve.

In that light-hearted vein a shout-out must go to our T-shirt models from back-in-the-day, the kids are all 20-or-30-something now at time of writing. Our compliments and lasting gratitude are also due to their T-shirt modelling parents, our friends. SurfaceActive employed most of them as our highly-trusted sales crew selling from our stall at the weekend Christchurch Arts Centre Market, come rain or shine, year-round 1988–2002.


Design and Art Direction: Design pARTners, Chrissie Terpstra and Shaun Waugh
Illustrator: Shaun Waugh
Hand-pulled screen printing: Surface Active: Chrissie Terpstra and crew

©magentadot brands

Ker & Downey Classic New Zealand Journeys

Ker & Downey, Classic New Zealand Journeys brochure

U.S. affluent travel specialists Ker & Downey position themselves as experts in experiential luxury travel, their travel advisors have been hand-crafting journeys for over fifty years but as of 2004 had not added itineraries in Australasia to their set of journeys due to a lack of infrastructure in the region.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Enter in 2005 Pionair’s newly established “Unparalled Journeys” department, brainchild of CEO Tim Scott. Pionair Unparalleled Journeys offered exclusive, tailor-made travel for the discerning Luxury market from North America, Europe and South America. With Tim leading the project, Ana Haase brought in as head travel advisor and head of the department and myself in the newly established role of in-house brand manager/designer at Pionair, we formed a tight-knit unit. Given the crossover between expert travel advisors, marketing strategy and visual design our collaboration proved up to the task of meeting and exceeding Ker & Downey’s exacting brand standards at the high end of the travel market globally.

Though a new department within the firm Unparalleled Journeys had a solid track record and solid expertise to leverage off given Tim’s hands-on leadership and the Pionair team’s decade of experience in the provision of luxury group private air tours of New Zealand and Australia to the likes of TAUCK, and various ivy league university alumni travel-study programmes such as Stanford and Harvard.

Pionair, Ker & Downey joint venture

So in 2005 Pionair embarked on the joint venture with Ker & Downey. Pionair designed luxury travel journeys and brought the provision of round-the-clock in-country travel advisor support for the three new itineraries. Pionair’s set of new itineraries mixed flying and self-drive journeys through the North and South Islands of New Zealand. The inaugural Ker & Downey Classic New Zealand Journeys were named Fire and Ice, Magnetic South, and Aotearoa.

My role in the venture as in-house designer was the design and print production of a 32 page travel brochure “Classic New Zealand Journeys” in collaboration with colleagues Ana Haase and Tim Scott. The brochure was printed in Christchurch and shipped to Katy Texas, head office of Ker & Downey for distribution by them to their direct mail client base and U.S. affluent travel agencies.

The brief was to design the brochure consistent with Ker & Downey’s house style with a fresh twist of kiwi ingenuity.


In the aftermath of the October 2008 financial crisis Pionair New Zealand was wound up. Tim Scott’s Unparalleled Journeys like a phoenix rose out of the ashes.


Project name: Ker & Downey, Classic New Zealand Journeys brochure
Client (Industry):
 Pionair New Zealand (“Unparalleled Journeys” F.I.T department)
Disciplines:  Cartography / Copywriting / Desktop publishing / Graphic design / Information graphics / Photo compositing / Print production / Promotional design and advertising / Typography
Formats: Brochure / Promotional design and advertising
Date: 2005


Cartography: Raw maps Geographx
Ana Haase, Tim Scott, (Shaun Waugh)
Design firm:
 Pionair Propellor Studio (Solo in-house creative designer)
Design and Art Direction: Shaun Waugh
Printer: Croft Printing

©magentadot brands

Volvo excavator, Ripper mole ploughing, State Highway 1

Writing & Research: Technical

In order to write effectively in technical documents online or in print, writers need to do their research. My ability to get the facts straight and communicate them in ways that are engaging is showcased in my technical writing & research for the websites, blogs, and news feeds of these four clients; Velocette Racing New Zealand, Terranova thing, MTC Equipment and TruLine Civil. Depending on specific client needs, as is the case with the VRNZ project, or my own MagentaDot Brands portfolio website, blogs are integrated with a Facebook page.

Absolute-Proof website 2008 redesign

Absolute-Proof | Product name origination, logo, website, software UI, packaging, advertising and promotion, copywriting.

I began to develop my technical writing skill in the late 90s when I was involved as a stakeholder in the development and marketing of the AbsoluteProof digital proofing solution. My stake in the development of this innovative “highest achievable standard” Digital Proofing solution encompassed both marketing strategy and the provision of all the marketing communications materials, including the writing of software “quick start” user guides and both marketing and technical writing about the printing, desktop publishing and graphic arts industry for the AbsoluteProof website and print promotions.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Velocette Racing New Zealand website, blog & fb page

Velocette Racing New Zealand organisation logoAs a designer every now & then you get involved with a project that takes on a life of its own. Velocette Racing New Zealand’s campaign to rebuild and race the Eldee Velocette at the Isle of Man Classic TT in August 2014 had its beginning in the 1950s and is part of both NZ and Australia’s classic motorcycle racing folklore.

Eldee-2, magazine advertisement, ClassicRacer,

Quarter page magazine advertisement, May 2014 ClassicRacer mag.

First at the New Zealand Classic Motorcycle Racing Register (NZCMRR) event at Pukekohe in 2012, then at the Hampton Downs Summer Classic racing event in February 2013 I joined a small team of dedicated classic motorcycle racing enthusiasts contributing their skills and resources to the project. I undertook to provide VRNZ the full multi-disciplinary designer’s toolkit to document and professionally promote this home-brewed Kiwi project to build the fastest Velocette Lightweight Special of the 50s and race it in the 250cc class at the Isle of Man Classic T.T. in August 2014.

The VRNZ website, sweet running blog and Facebook page are a straightforward brand toolkit initially created for VRNZ’s 2014 Isle of Man Campaign and other projects going forward such as the 2015 campaign to take a trio of pre-war “girder forks” class winners to the 10th Anniversary Burt Munro event. The site aims not just to tell the stories of racing classic Velos Downunder, but to get the reader to connect with the passion that drives the men and women who champion the racing of classic machines. With the liberal use of noisy and dynamic action photos, slideshow ‘visual essays’, pithy video, and both short and long-form articles about the machines and the personalities behind them the site gets visitors to ‘smell the Castrol’ of Classic Motorcycle Racing in New Zealand.



The Terranova tiling “Journal” documents the recognition garnered from industry peers

Terranova tiling website Laptop mockup of a cascade of 5 pages with the Homepage at the top of the stack.

Terranova tiling | New identity, web design

Terranova tling is a firm of tile installation craftsmen headed by master tiler Camillo Schulz. Faultlessly accurate tiling craft is very often the icing on the cake of high value new home builds and renovations, high-spec kitchen and bathrooms and the like. Accurate tiling showcases the geometry and art of architectural and interior design. Since 2007 high quality imagery of Terranova’s award winning tiled interiors had been shot for New Zealand bathroom and building awards annually, and Terranova have garnered more than their fair share of prestigious awards…


MTC equipment newsfeed

MTC Equipment are Chieftain Trailers’ New Zealand distribution, sales and service agent offering custom designed and made trailers direct from the Irish manufacturer to their New Zealand customers. Because of Chieftain’s commanding size in the European market MTC can offer the full line of types and models of trailers that set out on the comprehensive catalogue website I designed and built for them. The design and build of the website included writing and rewriting all the content including the details such as individual product specifications tables.

The research and writing of a set of featured blog or news feed items was also required, two of which required technical research and writing.


The MTC Equipment blog or newsfeed is displayed in the bottom frame of the homepage layout. The slider contains 5 marketing communications mini-adverts and the middle frame contains quick links to trailer category header pages.

List of TruLine Case Studies

Technical writing & research for TruLine Civil’s ongoing series of Case Studies. The Case Studies are broadly themed around TruLine’s unique civil engineering methodologies as applied to specific projects.

This is the list of case studies I have researched & written, photographed and videoed for Geoff Powell of TruLine Civil between 2006–2016.

Horizontal infrastructure

Pipes that form the water supply network, the wastewater or sewer network, and the stormwater drainage network. Links open in new browser tab.

01/ Stream Culvert under Embankment, Magdala Link.

02/ Trenchless Technology: Horizontal Directional Drilling – Akaroa Harbour Water Supply Reticulation Upgrade.

TruLine Civil excavating Barbadoes Street, new waste water main pipe lay, linear metre record setting day. Post quake horizontal infrastructure rebuild, central city Christchurch.

03/ Wastewater Main Upgrade Central Christchurch

04/ Blaketown Sewage Separation Scheme, Greymouth, Parts I and II

05/ Trenchless Technology: Mole Ploughing*

06/ Prestons Pressure Sewer

ICT Horizontal infrastructure

Fibre-optic cable laying to install Ultra Fast Broadband networks.

07/ Ultra-Fast Broadband Initiative Roll Out, Nelson. Hydraulic Excavation video.

08/ Project KAREN UFB Cable Lay. Port Underwood, Makikihi, Leith Valley.

Project KAREN (Kiwi Advanced Research and Education Network) links all New Zealand’s Tertiary and Crown Research Institutions via UFB from Auckland to Invercargill.

Volvo excavator, Ripper mole ploughing, State Highway 1

October 2010. Geoff Powell supervising the laying of Ultra Fast Broadband cable on SH1 near Makikihi. Part of Project KAREN (Kiwi Advanced Research and Education Network) linking all Tertiary and Crown Research Institutes.

Civil Structures

TruLine’s experience spans the professional disciplines of structural, civil and transport engineering in the assembly and building of bridges, streets, townscapes & landscapes – the substructures, superstructures and the horizontal infrastructure in-between.

09/ New Civil Structure: A Reinforced Earth® retaining wall, part of the Wigram–Magdala Link Highway upgrade, Christchurch.

10/ Arthurs Pass Bus Terminal siteworks.

11/ Akaroa Pole Retaining Walls.

12/ SH73 Arthurs Pass (Mingha Bluff realignment). Precast concrete box culvert installation beneath main trunk railway on Otira river bed.

TruLine Civil works against the clock to place a new 2.5m square culvert beneath the main trunk railway on bed of the Otira River, high in the Southern Alps near Arthurs Pass.

Land development

13/ Iveagh Bay Terraces | Lake Brunner.

14/ Punakaiki Resort site works.

15/ Mountainview Estates Westport.*

Roading Horizontal infrastructure

Roads, bridges, culverts including walls, roading structures and utility work not meeting the definition of vertical. (*Photos from TruLine Civil Archive.)

16/ Rocksaw Road Widening, Matiri Narrows near Murchison (Rocksaw road widening video).

17/ Maruia Highway resurfacing, Lewis Pass.

18/ Woolhouse Creek Bridge Replacement, West Coast Highway.*

19/ Rock Anchor & Drilled Pile Retaining Wall, Lewis Pass Highway.*


Shaun is experienced and skilled in both graphic design and artwork and in research and writing particularly with regard to tender bid document presentation and the Civil Engineering Case Studies on our TruLine Civil website. We have found all of this very valuable when preparing our Expression of Interest and Civil Engineering tender bid documents. […]

Geoff Powell TruLine Civil. On-the-job portraits; Geoff Powell.


Client: TruLine Civil
Category: Civil Engineering
Website Content management: MagentaDot Brands.
Web design, Web coding & CMS customisation: DMM [Dynamic Multipmedia] 
Disciplines: Brand and identity systems design, Technical writing, photography, icon design, digital illustration, Web content management

©magentadot brands

Hidden Gems set of 3 escorted tour direct mail brochures, 2009 direct mail campaign to Pionair’s past traveller database and affluent travel agents in the U.S. and the rest of the world, this set of brochures comprises; Hidden Gems of New Zealand, Secrets of Southern Australia and Spirit of Papua New Guinea

“Hidden Gems” direct mail campaign

Pionair logo, rebrandDefining and evolving Pionair’s corporate identity. Pionair was one part private air charter firm, owning aircraft, employing pilots and aircrew, the other part an affluent travel firm, inbound travel wholesaler and tourism operator, my job of in-house designer, art director and founder of Pionair’s in-house “Propellor Studio” was the best of design jobs.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The initiation of the design process for client departments within the firm;

  • air charter,
  • escorted group travel,
  • free inboard travel,

was based on a collaborative designer-client relationship. Not being from an aviation, air charter or travel background diligent research through my own learning programmes relating to each new project I was designing or writing was key to composing compelling communications. Understanding the travel industry background and customer drivers was essential. This research was backed by print cost estimation, and formal presentations. The printed campaign components were sometimes colour digitally printed and bound in-house. If not I took responsibility for the design and print production, out-sourcing of offset litho printing, signage, or web design.

Get involved, ask the right questions, work collaboratively

The design development phase with in-house clients was collegial, design strategies were expertly discussed and explored, draft design solutions were evaluated by the presentation of preliminary design visuals or comps. By a process of client designer consensus building we developed the rationale for the final selection. Once the rationale was settled for projects I was able to implement the design, artwork and copywriting (as required) with single-minded creative direction. The application and implementation of the identity system was planned and followed coherent guidelines. Custom Word document templates were developed, the house set of typefaces installed on colleague’s computers, a library of digital assets was developed and curated containing images, maps and infographics.

The five years of being in-house creative designer for Pionair was preceded by two years of their brand management; design, art direction, artwork and print production of their marketing collateral in an independent creative studio. Out of this evolved considerable knowledge and experience and as this “Hidden Gems” exposition demonstrates, a Corporate I.D. System of clarity and conciseness that yielded measurable sales and marketing results.

If you think a well planned corporate identity system design with well developed manuals and guidelines might be a good strategy for your firm contact me here.

Hidden Gems set of 3 escorted tour direct mail brochures, 2009 direct mail campaign to Pionair’s past traveller database and affluent travel agents in the U.S. and the rest of the world, this set of brochures comprises; Hidden Gems of New Zealand, Secrets of Southern Australia and Spirit of Papua New Guinea

The Hidden Gems set of 3 escorted tour direct mail brochures. The brochures formed a 2009 direct mail campaign to Pionair’s past traveller database and affluent travel agents in the U.S. and the rest of the world. This set of brochures comprising Hidden Gems of New Zealand, Secrets of Southern Australia and Spirit of Papua New Guinea was a component of the kit of promotional material supplied to Pionair’s leading agents in the U.S.. The agents’ kit also included the “Unparalleled Journeys” affluent travel booklet.


Project name: “Hidden Gems” direct mail campaign, 3 x A3 Z-fold brochures.
Brochure design / Digital printing (in-house) / Print production (offset litho) / Promotional design and advertising / Type design
Client (Industry): Pionair Unparalleled Journeys (Travel & tourism)
Format: Booklet / Brochure / Digital Illustration / Direct mail / Illustration / Map
Date: 2009


Printer: Croft Print Limited
Design firm:
Pionair Propellor Studio (in-house)
Copywriter: Rae Wakefield Jones / Tim Scott
Art director / designer / print production: Shaun Waugh
Photographers: Pionair travelers, Papua New Guinea Tourism, Christopher Michael
Client: Pionair Group Travel / Escorted Tours business group (Tim Scott)
Type Credit: Avant Garde, Avant Garde Condensed

©magentadot brands

Bill Biber flying around the sweeper at Teretonga aboard the Big Velo 500.

Velos at the Burt 2015: Megaphones on Bluff Hill

Velocette Racing New Zealand organisation logo. Classic racing motorcycle enthusiasts organisation brand. ‘Coca-Cola’ style sloped and looped copperplate lettering in metallic gold on a black background, consistent with the historic livery of Velocette motorcycles. Brands for New Zealand / International organisations.This post and the following 5 contain galleries that cover the motorcycle racing for the Classic Pre ‘63 class, with telescopic forks from the 50s–60s, and the Classic Pre ‘63 class with girder forks from the 30s and 40s at the 10th Anniversary Burt 2015.

The girder forks class features Phil Price’s superb collection of original 70–80 year old Velocette racing machines, race-prepped and in fine fettle due to the knowledge and care of Wellington Velo man, Nic Thomson, and deftly ridden by Bill, Cloud, Chris and Phil. The photos document  3 of the Burt’s 6 events at the tenth anniversary Burt Munro Challenge in November 2015 that these machines were entered in, kicking off proceedings on Thursday 26th Nov with the Bluff Hill NZ National Hill Climb championships.

The Teretonga Circuit Races & Practice Day spanned Friday–Saturday and the event culminated in the hugely successful new Honda Invercargill Street Races on Sunday 29th.

The trio of cammy 350cc KTTs and the Velocette “Big Velo” 500 competed in the Pre ‘63 (with girder forks) Class along with Neville Mickleson’s KTT, Francie Winteringham and Rhys Wilson’s Rudges, a Triumph an Indian and other famous marques pictured below. Riders from the VRNZ camp, Chris Swallow and Cloud Craig-Smith also raced machines in the Classic Pre ‘63 class, and the Post Classic Pre ‘72 class, at Teretonga and the Street Races.

VRNZ Team leader Phil Price with Graham Peter’s Bluff HIll Climb Pre ‘63 Class sash at the Anchorage Pub, venue for the debrief after the event on Thursday evening.

VRNZ Team leader Phil Price with Graham Peters’ Bluff HIll Climb Champs Pre ‘63 Class sash at the Anchorage Pub, venue for the debrief after the event on Thursday evening.


All of the Classes of motorcycles that raced at the 2015 Burt at the Hillclimb, Teretonga and the street races will be added as time permits.

I’d like to thank all the riders who put it all on the line, their support crews, the event marshalls, organisers, admin and sponsors that made the 10th Burt such a festive, thrilling spectacle.

Finally kudos to Nic Thomson for the outstanding achievement of developing, race prepping and fettling the four Classic Girder Velos that achieved five historic wins at the 2015 Burt and acknowledge the remarkable fact also that all bar-one of these 80 year olds both started and finished every event entered over the four thunderous days in November 2015.

NZ Hill Climb Champs: Megaphones on Bluff Hill

Big Velo 500, Bill Biber, Bluff HIll Climb, Burt Munro Challenge, Flagstaff Road, Motupohue, New Zealand, NZ Hill Climb Champs, Rider 4, Velocette Big Velo 500

Bill Biber aboard the 1934 “Big Velo” 500 rounds corner 5 on his first timed run.

Flagstaff Road is a steep 1.4 km public road that snakes its way up Bluff Hill. With a few short straights, tortuous curves flanked by rocky cliffs, steep drops and demanding surface conditions that includes a small stream running across the exit of corner four the Bluff Hill course was a formidable challenge with which to kick off the start of A Decade of the Burt. After the Marshall’s briefing, Machine Scrutineering and Riders’ Meeting the Hill Climb event started at 09:40 Thursday morning with a series of two practice runs up Flagstaff Road for each competitor before competition commenced. The competition consisted of a couple of official timed runs for competitors in each class entered.

Map of The Bluff NZ Hill Climb Championships 1.4 km course showing photography locations.

The Bluff NZ Hill Climb Championships 1.4 km course map showing gallery photography locations.

Race Programme

  • Classic Pre ‘63 (including Girder fork Classics)
  • Classic Pre ’82
  • Classic Pre ‘89
  • Open Class (including a sidecar)
  • Up to 600cc
  • ATV Quad

For VRNZ in the Classic Pre ‘63, Girder fork class Rider 4 Bill Biber (1934 “Big Velo”) and Rider 197 Phil Price (1934 KTT) were competitors. Also in the camp was the Pre ‘63 Hill Climb class-winning Rider 85 Graham Peters (1958 BSA Goldstar) who won the Classic Pre ‘63 class in 55.41 secs, not too shabby considering the fastest time of the day was set at 46.64 secs by Tony Rees aboard his Open Class 2013 Honda CBR 1000.

The Classic Pre ‘63 girder fork Velos on the Start line and rounding Corner 1

Bluff HIll Climb, Burt Munro Challenge, Flagstaff Road, Velocette KTT 350, Velocette KTT MK VIII, Motupohue, New Zealand, NZ Hill Climb Champs, Phil Price, Rider 197

Phil Price enters Corner 1 aboard the ‘cammy’ 350cc 1934 Velocette KTT MK VIII

In this gallery are three girder fork machines;

  • Rider 197 – Phil Price – 1934 Velocette KTT MKIV
  • Rider 95 – Neville Mickleson – 1932 Velocette KTT MKIV
  • Rider 63 – Francie Winteringham – 1930 Rudge TT Rep 500

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Classic Pre ‘63 girder fork machines rounding Corner 5

Bluff HIll Climb, Burt Munro Challenge, Flagstaff Road, Velocette KTT 350, Velocette KTT MK VIII, Motupohue, New Zealand, NZ Hill Climb Champs, Phil Price, Rider 197

Phil Price roars around Corner 5 aboard the 1934 KTT MKIV at the 2015 Burt Munro NZ Hill Climb Champs time trial.

This gallery features five girder fork machines;

  • Rider 4 – Bill Biber – 1934 Velocette ‘Big Velo’ 500
  • Rider 197 – Phil Price – 1934 Velocette KTT MKIV
  • Rider 63 – Francie Winteringham – 1930 Rudge TT Rep 500
  • Rider 36 – Rhys Wilson – 1937 Rudge Ulster 500
  • Rider 95 – Neville Mickleson – 1932 Velocette KTT MKIV

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The final turn: Classic Pre ‘63 girder class approach tortuous Corner 6

Big Velo 500, Bill Biber, Bluff HIll Climb, Burt Munro Challenge, Flagstaff Road, Motupohue, New Zealand, NZ Hill Climb Champs, Rider 4, Velocette Big Velo 500

Bill Biber enters the final turn at the top of Flagstaff Hill aboard the Big Velo 500.

This gallery features four girder fork machines;

  • Rider 4 – Bill Biber – 1934 Velocette ‘Big Velo’ 500
  • Rider 95 – Neville Mickleson – 1932 Velocette KTT MKIV
  • Rider 63 – Francie Winteringham – 1930 Rudge TT Rep 500
  • Rider 36 – Rhys Wilson – 1937 Rudge Ulster 500

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Classic Pre ‘63 Class winner BSA Goldstar 500 flies up Bluff Hill in in 55.41 secs.

Bluff Hill, Bluff HIll Climb, BSA Goldstar 500, Burt Munro Challenge, Flagstaff Road, Graham Peters, Motupohue, New Zealand, NZ Hill Climb Champs, Rider 85

The 1958 BSA Goldstar with Graham Peters, Pre ‘63 Class winner aboard, flies out of Corner 5 on his way to an impressive 55.41 second finish.

Graham Peters aboard his BSA Goldstar 500 from start to finish of the tortuous Bluff Hill Climb.

  • Rider 85 – Graham Peters – 1958 BSA Goldstar>

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Classic Pre ‘63 Class and Post Classic Pre ‘72 competitors’ gallery

Bluff Hill, Bluff HIll Climb, Burt Munro Challenge, Kevin Ryan, Motupohue, New Zealand, NZ Hill Climb Champs, Rider 18, Triumph Bonneville 800

Kevin Ryan exits Corner 5 aboard his 1966 Triumph Bonnie 800.

Kevin Ryan & Bruce Aitken’s runs up Bluff Hill from start to finish.

  • Rider 18 – Kevin Ryan – 1966 Triumph Bonneville 800
  • Rider 238 – Bruce Aitken – Triton Triton 650

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Velocette Motorcycle Pit culture at the NZ Hillclimb champs

Big Velo, Bluff Hill climb, pits

The Big Velo in fine fettle, Pit Lane, Pearce Street, Bluff.

Pit Lane, Pearce Street, adjacent to the Start line.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Words: Shaun Waugh
Photography & Desktop publishing: Shaun Waugh

©magentadot brands