BOOK REVIEW – EXPLORING NEW ZEALAND‘S TOY TRUCK HISTORY TOYS OF ROAD VEHICLES MADE IN NEW ZEALAND

In Lifestyle3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJanuary 11, 2021

Book by Carville Stewart, published 2020
260 pages, 96 in colour
Price $55 plus postage
To order: contact author, carvillestewart@gmail.com

Was your favourite toy truck a Buddy-L or a Tonka? Maybe one by Fun Ho!, Lincoln, Tri-ang or Micro Models? Whether the toy was plastic, wooden, diecast, or pressed metal, you‘ll probably find the model in Toys of road vehicles made in New Zealand. In-depth research, company profiles, vintage advertisements, classic catalogue pages, and dynamic black and white and colour photos make for a good read. However, you may discover the book is a tad heavy for reading in bed. When finding out about the toys made in the bad old days of rigid import controls, you may be amazed at how many toy manufacturers this country once had. Import deregulation contributed to the demise of Fun Ho! in 1982 after more than 45 years of toy-making. A challenge for collectors would be to find the lead trucks made during the company‘s Wellington years, circa 1935 to 1945. In 1953 a boy could build himself a truck from the Meccano set he‘d saved up for, but he could not buy the latest Dinky Toys truck at the same shop. The reason was Meccano was classed as an educational toy and Dinky Toys weren‘t. To fill the demand for Dinky-type diecasts, Lincoln Industries leased the dies for Micro Models from Australia and cast them in New Zealand. Lincoln made two Commer articulated truck variations that were not produced in Australia, and issued some Micros as kitsets.

New Zealand toy truck manufacture in the 1950s would not be complete without mentioning the popularity of friction drive and clockwork lorries by Tri-ang. No model values are included in the book. Author Carville Stewart says toy trucks made in New Zealand are now rare, especially if mint and boxed. He makes no connection between value and rarity. “Value is always in the eye of the beholder!” Carville is an enthusiastic collector of New Zealandmade toys. He is the organiser of the Christchurch Toy & Hobby Fairs and a foundation member of the New Zealand Model Vehicle Club. His Toys of road vehicles made in New Zealand earns a place in any model vehicle collector‘s library.