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Joanne Burns, left, and Wendy Ploeg will be hosting a high tea for more than 50 motorcycle-riding women at Rev’s Motorcycle Centre on September 2. Photo: ALICE PARMINTER

Women on wheels to whip into Waihī

Watch out Waihī, a mob of lady motorcyclists are heading your way. 

The Warm Kiwi lady motorcycle event is on from September 1-3, and will see between 50 and 80 riders descend on the town. The annual event raises funds for the women’s refuge, with this years’ proceeds going to the Hauraki Women’s refuge. 

“It’s all about giving back to women,” organiser Wendy Ploeg said. 

“And I decided to make it a charity event to get more ladies together.”

Warm Kiwi was inspired by an annual men’s motorcycle event called Cold Kiwi, which involves riding to Ruapehu and camping in tents in the snow. 

“[Warm Kiwi is] on the same weekend as the Cold Kiwi. The men go to Ruapehu … at the foot of the mountain and they freeze themselves. They stay in tents,” Wendy said. 

“We decided to have an event that was cosy – in motels, close to hot pools, with a ride. It’s a bit of a no-brainer.”

Attendees will begin their weekend with a meet-and-greet on Friday evening. Saturday will be jam-packed with activity as the ladies ride to Paeroa for a high tea, then trek to Athenree for a soak in the hot pools. 

They will round off the evening with dinner and an auction at the Waihī Memorial RSA. Wendy, an auctioneer for Ray White, said she had secured some big-ticket items for the auction including Avon motorcycle tyres, rider training, whiskey, clothing and accessories. 

Wendy was particularly excited about the high tea, which will be held at Rev’s Motorcycle Centre in Paeroa. 

“We’ve gone all out, we’ve got fascinators, hats, fine china and cake plates. So the girls in their leathers will be putting on hats and having high tea,” Wendy said. 

Rev’s operations director Joanne Burns was also thrilled to be part of the event. 

“Women [riders] are my focus, trying to capture that market because no one else wants it,” Joanne said.  

“I have met some of the most beautiful ladies coming through this shop. A ladies ride seemed like a perfect idea.” 

The women said the weekend would cater to everyone, from beginners to seasoned veterans. 

“You get ladies on 250s who have just started riding, round to people like me who have been riding for years and years,” Wendy said.  

“The fastest growing demographic in motorcycle riders at the moment is women.”

Joanne said the appeal of riding was clear for many women. 

“It’s freedom in your head. You don’t think about what you’re doing with the kids, you don’t think about what’s for dinner, you have to concentrate on what you’re doing,” she said. 

“It’s actually quite empowering. For a lot of women it’s also outside their own comfort zone. The bikes are heavy, they’re big, they go fast … it’s just such a good feeling.”

“Men use the word camaraderie. I don’t know what word women use but there is a real sense of camaraderie and support amongst the women,” Wendy said. 

“It’s amazing who you meet, it’s just wonderful. And I think the fact that we’re giving back is a big thing for the girls as well.” 

DETAILS: Warm Kiwi, 1-3 September in Waihī and surrounds. See for more information. 

By ALICE PARMINTER, Public Interest Journalism funded by NZ on Air