Trekka becomes art and heads to Europe
In 2003 the Trekka became the unlikely centrepiece of a major artwork by Michael Stevenson, and represented New Zealand at the Venice Biennale, the Olympics of modern art.
Stevenson had a Trekka restored, and supported by other elements, “This is the Trekka” told the story of a nation trying to diversify its economy away from pasture, by linking up with a then communist nation to produce the ultimate symbol of industrialisation, a motor vehicle.
60,000 people passed through the La Maddelena church, to see “This is the Trekka” which sowed the seeds of awareness in Europe, and more importantly in the Czech Republic which produced Trekka’s mechanical underpinnings.
Stevenson’s work returned to New Zealand and has since been exhibited at Te Papa, the national museum, and at Wellington City Gallery.
Trekka returns to its second home
The place of the Trekka in the history of Czech car-maker Skoda became better-known to Czech classic car enthusiasts in the two decades following “This is the Trekka” in Venice in 2003.
Several restoration-grade Trekkas found their way to the Czech Republic and then in 2017 Skoda itself bought a restored Trekka for its factory museum in Mlada Boleslav.
The museum Trekka had been bought from a West Australian enthusiast, who had restored one of around 50 exported from New Zealand in the late 1960s.
Skoda itself began to use the Trekka in public relations events alongside its venture into the SUV market with the Kodiaq, pointing to its part in a fore-runner to the SUV sector, more than half a century earlier.
The Trekka shown in the Skoda video-shoot and on the road, was originally owned by Roger Taylor in Wānaka, and was faithfully restored in the Czech Republic by Jiří Valach retaining many of Roger's modifications.
About 9 Trekkas are now thought to be in private hands in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.