Event: Wheels at Wanaka—Terra Cat Earthmoving Extravaganza

By: Craig McCauley, Photography by: Craig McCauley

DSC 6305 The operators briefing prior to start up DSC 6305
DSC 6344 The sheer size of C&R Development’s Caterpillar 24H impressed the spectators DSC 6344
DSC 6373 The only Terex 82-80 bulldozer in New Zealand makes its opening push DSC 6373
DSC 6422 Classic earthmovers were joined by a number of current machines. A Volvo A30G passes by. DSC 6422
DSC 6511 Caterpillar 630B and 621A scrapers loading as a Caterpillar D9G rips ready for the next round DSC 6511
DSC 6520 ‘Kermit’, the AF Porter Terex 82-20B DSC 6520
DSC 6581 The Ross Brothers recently completed this restoration of former Taumarunui contractor JB Richardson’s International 433 Pay Scraper DSC 6581
DSC 6655 DSC 6655
DSC 6782 DSC 6782
DSC 6899 A Payhauler 350B takes on another load from the 560 Pay Loader DSC 6899
DSC 6903 DSC 6903
DSC 6990 DSC 6990
DSC 7064 Greg Robinson’s Caterpillar 215B excavator DSC 7064
DSC 7076 DSC 7076
DSC 7134 DSC 7134
IMG 8583 IMG 8583

All the action from the Terra Cat Earthmoving Extravaganza at Wheels at Wanaka 2021

Heralded by many attendees as the ‘greatest show on earth’, Wheels at Wanaka, described by the organisers as a biennial History-in-Motion Show, attracted 24,000 attendees to the lakeside town over Easter Weekend.

A must-see on many visitors’ itinerary was the Terra Cat sponsored Earthmoving Extravaganza, which ran over three consecutive days. Around 80 machines from all over the country were trucked into Wanaka, with most performing live demonstrations in a newly constructed pit.

Earthmoving Extravangza director Paul Clarke and a team of volunteer operators ran a range of tractor and scoop combinations, bulldozers, motor scrapers, loaders, and haul trucks through their paces in a superbly choreographed display.

With the machinery in operation spanning over four decades (1940 up to the 1980s), many of these machines having worked on major New Zealand construction and mining projects of those eras.

Making a first public appearance in New Zealand was a 1969 Terex 82-80 bulldozer recovered from Wakefield in the US and bought back to Dunedin, where it underwent a top-notch restoration in the Clarke Machine Hire workshops.

The symphony produced when this and a Euclid TC12 bulldozer combined to push-load various scrapers produced many smiles from the spectator embankment. Several people were heard saying it was one of the weekends highlights.

A special feature was the 125 years of grading in New Zealand. Machines ranging from early horse-drawn graders through to Caterpillar Auto Patrol and 12 Series machines and more modern graders were both on static display and undertook working demonstrations over the weekend.

Several mining graders were as in attendance. The largest, C&R Developments Caterpillar 24H, topped the scales at over 70 tonnes and was another popular drawcard. The historic earthmovers were joined by a selection of newer plant from the Terra Cat, Trans Diesel and the Equip2 stables.


Best in show awards Earthmoving
Vintage Alistair McDonald, Ruston Bucyrus RB10 Dragline

Ken Tisdall, International TD18


Keith Sargeson


Trevor Smith, Euclid TC12


Tim Ross, International 560 Pay Loader


Al Haig

Off-Road truck

Ken Philpott, Caterpillar 769B

Horsepower Yeatman Bros, Wabco 333FT
Performance award

Phil Dreadon Snr and
Phil Dreadon

Terra Cat Operator Daryl Sutherland
Terra Cat Modern

Blair Duncan

Robert Duncan Memorial Trophy (for outstanding contributions to Wheels at Wanaka)

Ross family, C&R Developments, Cambridge

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