By SHELLEY TOPP
Dirk and Trudy Regter have motored through North Canterbury, having the time of their lives on a world tour in their 1915 Model T Ford.
They are raising funds for SOS Children’s Villages, which helps orphaned youngsters.
Last Saturday, the inspirational Dutch couple paid a visit to North Canterbury to catch up with fellow Model T enthusiasts in Rangiora and Oxford.
Their adventure began during the northern hemisphere summer of 2012, when they set out from the Netherlands for South Africa.
In the first leg of their journey they visited 17 countries in Europe and Africa on their journey to Capetown, travelling 24,140km in 160 days.
In 2013 they embarked on the second leg of their journey, through North America. They toured through 22 states in the United States and from west to east across Canada, travelling 27,358km in 180 days.
South America beckoned in 2014. Starting in Cartagena, Colombia, they journeyed to Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, covering 25,749km in 180 days.
They decided to take a break in 2015 to catch up with family and four new grandchildren.
However, after visiting a sponsoring event in Luxembourg during August that year in their Model T, they were rear-ended by a truck on their return home.
They had planned to continue the tour in 2016, but their Model T was too badly damaged.
After two years of restoration work it was once again ready to resume the tour, with New Zealand beckoning.
After New Zealand, the couple will travel to Australia, then Asia and Central Europe before
The New Zealand leg is supported by friends Steef and Greetje Reilingh, travelling in a Land Rover.
Their trip began in Christchurch, heading for the West Coast, then down the coast to Milford Sound before driving north to Picton and the North Island, where their Kiwi journey will end on March 19.
The vehicles will then be shipped to Australia.
The couple were inspired to help SOS Children’s Villages because of its worldwide work creating a brighter future for orphans.