MEETING THE HEROES

In Events, February 20213 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineMarch 11, 2021

Wheels at Wanaka, New Zealand‘s biggest all-moving, all-action vehicle show returns this Easter, 2 to 4 April, to the picturesque Central Otago town. And one of the characters making his way to the event for the second time is Vic Draper, from Drapers Earthmoving in Wellington.


Photo: Trucks centre stage at Wheels at Wanaka 2019.

A vehicle show is, as the title suggests, all about the vehicles. But spend more than a few minutes at an event and quickly come to realise the characters behind the vehicles are just as intriguing. Wheels at Wanaka, New Zealand‘s biggest all-moving, all-action vehicle show returns this Easter, 2 to 4 April, to the picturesque Central Otago town. And one of the characters making his way to the event for the second time is Vic Draper, from Drapers Earthmoving in Wellington. Vic was a key contributor at the Wheels at Wanaka 2019 Terra Cat Earthmoving Extravaganza. He took his brother and a couple of his mates from Australia on a tour from Wellington to Wanaka via the Danseys Pass in his 1991 Mack V8 Super Liner, 1981 Mack R Series and 2000 Mack CH. All were loaded with vintage earthmoving machines including the restored, very rare, only one in New Zealand and in working order, 1950s Vickers Vikon Bulldozer. The lads then spent the weekend moving some serious dirt around the demo pit with earthmoving legends Robert Duncan, Kevin Capell, Paul Clarke and a team of about 30 operators to the delight of the 12,000 spectators who passed through the gates that weekend.

They then made their way back via the West Coast doing a bit of machine shopping on the way. Vic is no stranger to the contracting industry, starting his career as an apprentice mechanic with Gough Cat, then moving on to the Twizel Power Scheme for three years before re-joining the family business established in the 1930s by his dad Tom Draper. Vic still uses his dad‘s 1974 D7 and now his 1975 International Paystar 5000. Vic took over the business in the early 1980s and has been on a mission to make Wellington flat ever since. Vic is keen to bring his mates back to Wheels at Wanaka 2021, and he tells us that we‘re up for a few restoration surprises for the Terra Cat Earthmoving Pit and more. If you aspire to be as legendary as Vic, the first step is to register your vehicles (cars, trucks, motorbikes or earthmovers – if it has wheels, it‘s welcome) in Wheels at Wanaka. Register and learn more about New Zealand‘s biggest all-vehicle show at www.wheelsatwanaka.co.nz.


Photo: Vic with his 1975 International Paystar 5000.


Photo: Vic Draper and Robert Duncan, onsite at Wheels at Wanaka 2019.


Photo: Vic‘s rare Vickers Vikon bulldozer in action at Wheels at Wanaka 2019.