From Nelson To Invercargill
It was a self-proclaimed rush of blood to the head.
Executive directors Joc and Scott O’Donnell made an instinctual decision to re-imagine an incredible collection.
Classic Motorcycle Mecca is the second tourism venture owned by Invercargill-based Transport World. When Nelson businessman Tom Sturgess decided to sell his substantial motorcycle collection in 2016, Transport World executive directors Joc and Scott O’Donnell made a snap decision to add a motorcycle hub to their burgeoning classic collection. Given Invercargill’s love for everything wheels, it seemed like an opportunity of a lifetime.
After more than a dozen up-and-back journeys by the Transport World transporter vehicle, the collection was shifted from Nelson to Invercargill. It was at this point that Nelson's motorcycle collection became Invercargill's motorcycle museum, Classic Motorcycle Mecca.
So, how did the story actually begin?
Tom Sturgess is a Nelson-based, American-born businessman who shifted to New Zealand in the mid-1990s. He bought his first motorcycle – a 1965 Triumph Tiger – on a whim in early 2008. His collection exploded in only seven short years, and he amassed almost 300 motorcycles in that time.
Joc O’Donnell is the daughter of Bill Richardson, the original collector of Bill Richardson Transport World. Joc was inspired to take over the collection when Bill died in 2005. Since immigrating to New Zealand in the early 20th century the Richardson family have always had a keen, industrial eye for business and have been involved in a range of enterprises throughout the years. However, it was Bill who made the decision to diversify into transport. When Bill was in his early 20s his father purchased his first truck and from there Bill and his family grew the business into one of New Zealand’s largest private companies, with over 2500 employees and varied interests in transport, concrete, fuel and more recently tourism. The family opened Bill Richardson Transport World to showcase their automotive collection to the public in 2015.
When Tom Sturgess decided to sell his collection, Transport World purchased a significant portion of his collection with the view to add motorcycles to its repertoire and Classic Motorcycle Mecca was born. It opened in Invercargill on 23 November 2016, during the Burt Munro Challenge, an event that attracts motorcycle enthusiasts from across the globe to Southland.
Since opening in Invercargill, the Classic Motorcycle Mecca has simply gotten bigger and better. Special emphasis has been placed on creating a collection that appeals to a broad range of interests – Classic Motorcycle Mecca is now not only New Zealand’s largest vintage motorcycle collection, but its most diverse. Motocross, speedway and Japanese motorcycles are among the special interest pieces that have been infused into the collection.