New Zealand rally

Rallying returns to the land of the long white cloud

New Zealand has not had a National rally since 2017, but all that is about to change

Words: Steve Moore
Photos: Brad Boniface

We all love a good rally, right?


Meeting up, riding and partying with like-minded folk – there’s not much that beats it; and there are few better places to rally than New Zealand. Tucked away on the bottom of this planet we all call home, they have some of the best and least-crowded riding roads in the world, which, coupled with legendary Kiwi hospitality, make for a compelling destination.

This year there are two events in the diary and one is already sold out! The booked-up Southern Roar will hit Methven on the beautiful South Island (1-2 November). Prior to this, the North Island will be hosting The Great Northern Muster in Rotorua over the NZ Labour Day weekend (26-28 October).

“The weather in New Zealand is a little fickle, especially at this time of year,” explains Craig Urquhart, H.O.G.® Regional Director for NZ. “We chose the Rotorua Events Centre so that we can hold the rally entirely indoors.”

Following a traditional Maori Powhiri welcoming ceremony on Saturday, the expected 500-plus Harley® fans will be set loose to enjoy everything on offer. “There will be five grazing stations with cuisines to cater for all tastes and diets. Organised events and bike displays will be accompanied by live music that will kick-on into the evening,” says Craig.

Sunday’s Thunder Run will incorporate a circumnavigation of lake Rotorua before descending on one of the city’s coolest hot spots. “Eat Streat is an avenue of eateries under the cover of a retractable roof and footpaths that are thermally heated by waters from the nearby geothermal geysers. This all-weather haven will feature bands and bike displays, including the recently unveiled MY20 Harley-Davidson® range.”

Both regional events have been dependent on hard-working H.O.G. representatives from a collective group of Chapters; all working together for the common goal. “This year’s rallies are setting the foundation for what is planned for 13-14 March next year,” says Craig.

The first New Zealand National rally since 2017 will be centred around the out-of-season ski-town of Ohakune at the foot of Mt Ruapehu – an active volcano on the central plateau of the North Island.

“We are long overdue a National rally in New Zealand, and we wanted to completely take over a destination,” Craig explains. “With a working title of Thunder Mountain the whole town is getting involved and will be painted black and orange. We will own this space for the weekend and it’s going to be amazing!”

Thunder Mountain will be an all-inclusive open event to showcase the camaraderie of H.O.G. Keep up-to-date on details as they become available by going to thundermountainnz.com