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Camera roll on car show

Start Me Up presenters Martin Lafferty, right, and Mike “Mod” O’Donnell, getting stuck in. PHOTO/SUPPLIED


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It was lights, camera, action in the region earlier this year, when a new television series was filmed in Wairarapa.

The first episode debuted online recently, ahead of its network television premiere.

Start Me Up is a new show produced by Double Happy Media, marketed as “a classic car show meets Country Calendar with a touch of Mucking In”.

The show’s co-presenter Martin Lafferty is credited as “the bloke who can start anything”.

“I’m not a mechanic or anything like that, but I’ve got a toolbox and I’m handy,” he said.

Together with Mike “Mod” O’Donnell, a man described as “half man, half engine oil,” the pair seek out classic but forgotten cars and try to get them running again – many of which are located in Wairarapa.

Lafferty said the show was for “the guy who can’t pass an engine without trying to start it up”.

“It’s a shed guy’s show.

“And the shed guys are the best bit, you’ll be amazed what people are doing in sheds.”

In the six episodes comprising the first series, Lafferty and Mod get their hands dirty with an NZ-built VW Trailmaker, a 1948 Morris Commercial tow truck, a 1970 Valiant Wayfarer Ute, a 1966 Leyland 15 van, a 1983 BJ45 Landcruiser and a 1928 Dodge Fast Four.

Lafferty said after shooting a pilot episode up north, the show was commissioned for five more episodes.

“We thought a bit about where we might go.

“I’ve got plenty of friends around the Wairarapa so I thought it would be a nice place to come.

“There was plenty of cars, we didn’t have any shortage of those.”

Filming took place in March this year over about five days, visiting locations including Greytown, Masterton, Bideford and Tauherenikau.

Lafferty said Start Me Up was not a restoration show, “we just look for old completely wrecked, forgotten and basket case cars, and see if we can start them up”.

“The worse they are, the better they suit us,” he said.

“As you can imagine there are plenty of those lying around in the various corners of farms in the Wairarapa.

“We film it straight, we don’t do anything off-camera with the cars, we don’t prepare them.”

Local characters show up in each episode, as the team source the right gear to start up the car of the week.

“We had no trouble finding interesting characters around the Wairarapa to talk to, everyone was really helpful, and we had a great time.

“You just come across these amazing people who are doing incredible things in sheds.”

Start Me Up is available to view on TVNZ On Demand, with new episodes released each Tuesday.

TVNZ will air the show on Duke in the new year.


  1. This is a great show and should be on main stream TV1 or 3 much better to see some home grown car stuff than most of the overseas hype stuff.

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