'We'll keep calm and carry on' Magogs gear up for street party

LEIGHTON KEITH
Last updated 05:00 01/03/2014
Russell
ANDY JACKSON

Club president Russell "Shagger" Gilmer

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The president of New Plymouth's Magog Motorcycle Club is looking forward to celebrating its 40th birthday after months of controversy.

The club's anniversary celebrations start today with a ride-in show'n shine at the Egmont St car park, between 1pm and 4pm, and will be followed by a street party at Peggy Gordons featuring six live bands.

The street closure for the party was approved by New Plymouth district councillors, 10-4, at a meeting in December but an application for a special liquor licence for the event was declined in February.

Police opposed the licence saying the Government recognised the Magogs as a gang or outlaw motorcycle club and police were concerned about the type of people the event would attract.

The party had the potential to get too loud, patched gang members could get drunk and choose to be violent and people could breach drink driving laws, police said.

Club president Russell "Shagger" Gilmer, a former New Plymouth district councillor, said he was excited about the celebrations.

"We've been planning a year of 40th anniversary celebrations so watch this space," he told the Taranaki Daily News yesterday.

"We are expecting it to be a bloody great night really."

While Mr Gilmer conceded there had been some issues in the club's past he said members had moved on and evolved since the 1970s when part of their aim was to be antisocial. "Every organisation, including police, have faced the same issues at some time."

Mr Gilmer assured the public the party would not result in gang warfare on New Plymouth's streets and pointed out the club had successfully run problem free events in the town for about 30 years including two concerts by Jethro Tull in 1994 at the TSB Stadium.

"We don't expect to see any issues, there will be a well behaved crowd enjoying quality New Zealand entertainment."

Mr Gilmer said the live bands which include, The Nod, Sticky Filth, Bullfrog Rata and Devilskin, were selected because of their association with the club over the past 40 years.

"Bullfrog Rata opened for Jethro Tull 20 years ago. There is a few little significant aspects behind their selection and it fits with our community."

He hoped there would be about 100 bikes on display at the show'n shine, which was a fundraiser for a motor neurone sufferer, and would be free for the public to enter.

In April the club will run its 15th Motorcycle Expo.

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