Affectionately nicknamed ‘The Pig’ due to its distinctive protruding ‘snout’ capped with a single car-like headlight, a New Zealand scooter, the NZeta, may strike some as lacking
elegance. But through the scooter afi cionado’s rose-tinted goggles, the NZeta has something that places its snout above other scooters of its time: Attitude, with a capital A.
And it is beautiful, a kind of ugly-beautiful. Few heads are not turned in the presence of a NZeta.
Its ancestry hails from Czechoslovakia with a scooter called the Cezeta. One-time entrepreneur Lorenz Von Sommeruga (better known as Laurie Summers of Kawasaki Motorcycles, and, to scooter riders, the father of New Zealand scootering) shipped Cezeta components to New Zealand and began assembly in Auckland in 1960. Importing laws at the time meant that 25% of the scooter had to be manufactured locally. Along with some minor design changes, Sommeruga outsourced the welding of the body parts to VW Motors, NZ Steel and Tube constructed the handlebars, mufflers and exhausts, and the chrome plating was carried out in Otahuhu. It carried a distinctive silver fern badge and sold for £219. At its peak, the company had just over 30 staff; in the first year the factory produced 1500 units.
Production was to be short-lived, however. Three years later the facility closed due to lack of demand.