Tip-Topp caravan

00:42, May 04 2011
FULLY RESTORED: Jacinda Ardern with the fully restored caravan once owned by the Topp Twins.

An old caravan best known to fans of Camp Leader and Camp Mother is set to make ongoing appearances in downtown Auckland.

Auckland Central-based Labour list MP Jacinda Ardern refurbished the small 1956 Starlette, which was owned until recently by Jools Topp of the Topp Twins, during the summer.

Ms Ardern plans on using the caravan, which appeared in the Topp Twins' TV show and movie, to hold mini meetings in the city.

TOPP CARAVAN: Topp Twin Jools Topp, far left, sold her old caravan used in the entertainers' TV shows and movie to Labour list MP Jacinda Ardern, who will use it for meetings in the city. Also pictured are Ms Ardern's campaign manager Paul Chalmers and Ms Topp's partner Mary Massara, far right.

She purchased the caravan off Trademe after getting into a bidding war at the end of the auction, but had no idea its owner was the famous Kiwi entertainer.

Ms Topp says she first laid eyes on the caravan when it was sitting in a Grey Lynn front yard about 25 years ago and bought it straight away.

But a novel solution was needed to it get off the property.


"I fell absolutely in love with it, but the caravan had been parked down the back and I couldn't get it out because of a verandah.

"There were 10 blokes working up the road, so I went up there with a slab of beer and said, `Can you help me move my caravan?'

"These 10 guys just picked it up and carried it around the corner of the house."

The entertainer, who estimates the caravan was sitting in her backyard for 10 years, says it's surprising how much interest the auction generated.

"What was really amazing is we put it on for $1 and it went for a lot more than that. We even went back and said: `You do realise the caravan's not going, has a few holes and you might have to take it out on a trailer'."

Ms Topp puts the interest down to Kiwis' love of nostalgia.

"We still have this absolute romance with all things old.

"A lot of new caravans don't have that character. I'm really happy Jacinda's decided to restore it."

Ms Ardern says the restoration process has been a long but rewarding one.

"Once we got one layer of paint off, we found another. There was green, teal and pink."

She says the caravan will be used as a meeting point to discuss inner city issues.

And finding a spot to park up isn't likely to be much of a problem either.

"It's small enough that it should only take up one parking space.We'll just have to move it every 60 minutes."

The caravan will be unveiled to the electorate at the park next to Dedwood Tce, Herne Bay on May 7 between 2pm and 3.30pm.

Auckland City Harbour News