New Zealands car assembly industry began with the Colonial Motor Company piecing together Ford Model Ts in the early 1920s, and the first true production line came in 1926 with General Motors.
For the next 70 years, as governments imposed tariffs on importing completely built up cars, the assembly industry directly employed thousands of New Zealanders, and indirectly supporte of communities up and down the country. Car assembly provided employment, helped in the Second World War effort, fostered a local supply industry, and even gave opportunities for New Zealand to export cars. But the reforms of the 1980s and 1990s dealt blow after blow to the industry, and the removal of import tariffs on cars in 1998 was the death knell.
Before records disappeared and key figures moved on, Mark Webster scoured the country interviewing, delving into company archives and photographing.