AA looks back on 120 years of keeping Kiwis moving

26 May 2023

AA looks back on 120 years of keeping Kiwis moving

The New Zealand Automobile Association is marking its 120th anniversary today reflecting on some memorable Member moments.

AA Chief Executive Nadine Tereora says, “We’ve had no shortage of variety to look back on!”

The Association first began on May 26 in 1903 when Dr George Thomas Humphrey de Clive Lowe along with a small group of motoring enthusiasts formed the Auckland Automobile Association, before expanding to 15 regional clubs, all with a focus on providing roadside assistance and advocating for driver safety and motorists’ interests. In 1991 those clubs were consolidated into what is now the AA.

Nadine says the AA’s 1.8 million Members are the reason the Association exists.

“One of our greatest strengths is our continuous strive to provide a top quality service to our Members. We believe the continued growth in Membership is testament to the Association’s rich history, the faith New Zealanders have in the organisation and value they continue to see in being an AA Member.

“We were very fortunate to recently have some of our Members share their fondest memories of the Association with us which we are most appreciative of.”

Neale from Christchurch shared a memory of learning to drive with the AA back in 1967, and after a few rocky hill starts he went on to become a shuttle service driver later in life where he credits the ‘fine tutelage’ the AA provided him. 

In one unlucky situation, George from Whanganui dropped his keys down a storm water drain, but thankfully a Service Officer managed to use a bit of twine and a magnet to haul them right back up.

Another key mishap saw Jan from Christchurch leave her keys behind on holiday in Vanuatu, fortunately the car all the way in New Zealand could still be unlocked by an efficient pair of AA hands.

One Auckland Service Officer recalled a time when he was called to an underground carpark for a car making “twang” noises. It turns out the car’s aerial was just hitting the roof rafters of the carpark.

Back in 1966, Dorothy from Wellington was on holiday when her car refused to change gear. A call to the AA saw that the issue was more significant than first thoughts so she and her family were stuck in Ruatahuna, but fortunately the Service Officer provided some accommodation at a family home and they were back on their way two days later.

Nadine says, “Providing quality service, whether at the roadside, over the phone, in an AA Centre or other touchpoints, is of utmost important to us and it’s wonderful to see Members’ appreciation.

“We hope they know we will be striving for the same quality of service for the next 120 years and beyond. As the mobility landscape continues to evolve in New Zealand we are proud to be alongside Kiwis for the journey.”

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