The story of the Van

Well I thought I better tell the whole story of the van.
In the beginning before heading over to New Zealand, in those hazy days of planning and discussing matters, one such matter was what to do with the VW van - storage, selling or shipping!

Rachel persuaded us that picking up a van over here in NZ would be impossible and travelling around in one would be great, so why do we import our van.

To start with this seems like a great idea, you can import it tax free, and Adam found a helpful and reasonably priced company that would do the work for us, they liaised with a company in NZ who then deal with the paperwork at this end.

So Adam cleaned and washed, tided and fixed. He drove it to London where he said goodbye and it was loaded into a container (after another super wash).

It arrived in NZ shortly after Adam did, back in July and we made contact with the company here, who explained the paperwork and procedures. We made lists of the contents and waited for the MAF clearance. MAF make sure no awful creatures, pests or stuff like that get into the beautiful NZ. MAF stand for Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. They gave it (and the tent we brought across) a big thumbs up, and were impressed with the cleanliness.

It kind of all went downhill from then.
We were keen to see it, but when we arrived, it had been unpacked and taken to the garage for compliance. Compliance is kind of checking it's OK mechanically to get into the country, after this is needs a WOF - warrant of fitness, similar to the MOT.

We finally tracked down the garage and went o see the van, we were then told there was a long wait until the van would be done and they would phone us - never believe a kiwi who says this. We had to phone back several times and eventually went to see the damage. When the told Adam the van was rotten I thought there may be a break down (of Adam that is). Apparently the underneath was rotten and needed lots of work doing. Then it got really silly. All the parts need to be specifically named - ie a Halfords break shoe won't do. There was a list of recognised suppliers and most of the vans parts needed changing. All very annoying. Oh and then fuss over glass and windows and they couldn't find a Vin number, very irritating and stupid.

So off it went to be 'fixed'. What seems like many months later and several phone calls to check and disaster phone calls saying loads of work needs doing underneath the van and it's going to cost thousands of dollars.

Well after mental tears of frustration we collected the van, curiously having now had all the owrk done and things changed and tests completed, the breaks were crap and it would hardly stop, rather scary. Then we get back home and find a panel missing underneath the front cab and plus items stolen out of the cupboards, including poslih brought over for Adams brother and new light put up at the back of the van. Thankfully we had taken a few things out before it went of the the lifesaving work, or it could have been a lot worse. The front cab was a bit of a mess with scuff marks over the lovely new cream panels. However on a positive note, the sandblasting and under sealing are well done and Adam is very happy with that bit of the work.
So when then had to recontact them about the lack of breaks - so back to the dodgy garage, They denied all knowledge about the lost items - claiming it must be the panel beaters who did the work underneath the van (and lost the panel). The company who sent it to the garage also didn't care, they just wanted their bill paying, denying any responsibility (oh and the bill was silly but lets not get into that).

They then decide it needs a new master break cylinder (like I know what that means), what was annoying was the smug way they would say "was it OK back in England", "did you have problems with the van back in the UK", very very irritating. So again after a painfully long wait and several phone calls, with me getting quite stroppy with them at times they say it's ready. And no, no-one phoned us to say it was, on one of our random calls, they say - oh yes, it's been sitting waiting for you to collect.........mad or what
Well we go and have a good look, the panel to replace the lost one is a terrible replacement and the inside cab is such a mess I really lost it at them. No-one said sorry, no-one really cared. Then because they have had it for so long the battery is flat. But we leave (oh we do get a discount because of the missing items and the mess).

We drive away, still angry but driving. Then it stalls at some traffic lights!! So there I am, in skirt and flip lops (I do have a top on) trying to push a VW van over the traffic lights, getting the finger from some helpful kiwi drivers as we cause a hold up - curiously. Some kind sole (they do exist here then) stops and helps me push it over the junction.

Well we can't jump start it and it's all getting a bit much. So I drive back to the garage and they come and push it for us, down a hill so it can start, Adam them drives home hurrah.

Well the battery id pretty knackered and after a new battery/battery charge debate we get the charger and wait... and wait....and wait, we then try and have an alarm nightmare (our neighbours loved us that afternoon). so we charge the battery some more..and some more.....and some more......

Adam also notices that the spare bit of carpet is now missing and the wheel nuts have not all been replaced.

Well life is there in the battery, but no response from the van. Some stress and irritation showing now over this whole saga.

Well at this point i have to say MY DAD IS FANTASTIC

The wonders of skype calling, we are discussing this problem and my dad suggests a whole heap of ideas to help us decide what the problem is and how to resolve it, including mentioning the magic words, starter motor.

So a bang on the starter motor and we have life - yahoo.

Well then, to insurance. To get this under a classic/vintage insurance policy we needed a valuation. So we pick a bloke from the yellow pages who spends less than 2 minutes looking at the van. The next day we get his valuation, and slightly perturbed Adam phones him and is told that it doesn't matter how much work you do to it, it's only then van that matters. All the argument about classic car, replacement value - wasted. So not happy, we then tracked down the Auckland VW club, who recommend a specialist guy to do the valuation. He doesn't visit but wants photos emailed to him. He gets back to us really quickly, double the value of man number one! This guy goes to auctions and keeps an eye on the selling/buying of vans so could give us a proper replacement value. His written valuation comes through really quickly and we then get insurance (actually the insurance company are very helpful and lovely on the phone - we have car and contents insurance already and they're great).

So on the 17th December, well over 6 months after the van arrived (and a hell of a lot more money that originally planned), we go out for the day, yahoo, hurrah and joy. It's lovely to be driving it, and now we have a little list of jobs to do, but will be planning lots of trips very soon.

The Marvelous World of Post

We blimey me and blow me down with a feather or words to that effect. After my Christmas rush and panic to get everything in the post by the 29th November - last posting day to the UK and my slight hyperventilation attack when I hear how much it cost to send (you are all worth it so heh). The wonderful world of postage means they have already arrived - in 4 days - so Happy Christmas to you all!!!


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