Me and My Car: Author Lisa Hamilton-Gibbs

By Donna McIntyre for the NZ Herald

LISA HAMILTON-GIBBS, AUTHOR OF CHILDREN’S BOOK WHO SAID KIWIS CAN’T FLY? AND ICANDY.CO.NZ FOUNDER

What do you like about your 2014 VW Touareg?

It has a diesel engine, which is very cost-efficient. White is also one of the safest-coloured vehicles on the road. With the amount of travel we do, that is an important factor. It is roomy so I can fit in a lot of children’s paraphernalia. When I am doing trade fairs for my business, it’s useful to be able to cart all my gear.

Why did you choose it?

I had a wee collision with a concrete bollard and my previous vehicle had to be taken in for some serious work. My hubby Blair suggested the Touareg might be a good vehicle, so we traded in my old car while it was in the workshop. It is automatic and it had one previous owner.

Any modifications?

No, I’m no girl racer.

Who else is allowed to drive?

Blair is the only one who drives my car other than me. It is usually to cart our kids around as their car seats are in my car.

What do you always have in your car?

Wipes for small dirty paw prints, coins for parking meters and coffee.

As mum to Millie, 5, and Sam, 2.5, what tricks do you have to keep them happy?

I use Spotify in the car: Badjelly the Witch by Spike Milligan is always a winner. Other games that keep them occupied are ‘‘I spy’’ and a memory game. I also try to time longer drives with when they might go to sleep.

First car?

A Hyundai Pony, nicknamed Harry. I loved that car.

Your dream car …

I am happy with my VW. I perhaps would change the colour to a metallic grey in a perfect world.

Who taught you to drive?

My uncle Chris when I was about 14. He took me down to the Ellerslie racecourse. He was a fantastic teacher as he was patient. My mum tried on one occasion to teach me and I remember her white knuckles clenching the handles above the passenger seat.

Do you prefer manual or automatic?

I have always loved manual cars as I am more actively involved in the driving experience. With children, however, there is already a lot more to focus on and taking the need to change gears out of the equation is a good idea.

Most memorable road trip?

The year was 1993. A friend and I bought a 1979 Honda Civic named Herman (after Herman Munster) and we travelled and camped around the US for a month. The Honda Civic had no air conditioning and we blew out a tyre in the Mojave Desert. It was an incredible trip and that car went far beyond the call of duty.

If you could go anywhere in any car with any celebrity …

James Corden in his big Range Rover. I would go back to South America and drive up the coast to Salvador for Carnival. He might be the man of the moment but Corden has such charisma and looks like so much fun. I might even sing a song with him.

Great day trip out of Auckland?

One of my favourite things, time and child care permitting, is to drive to Muriwai and play golf. I love the wild, rugged coastline. I always come away feeling energised.

If you could change one traffic rule?

I would raise the legal driving age from 16 to 18.

What is the strangest (publishable) thing you have done in a car?

At the time it was not strange. Now it would not only be strange but downright illegal. When I was a child we did a road trip with my mum, her best friend and four children in a Mazda 323. We travelled from Auckland to Queenstown with our suitcases on the roof. When we wanted to sleep, we would put all of the seats down in the back — while mum was driving.

Auckland’s traffic …

I think we have a major issue with congestion. The other day our architect came over on his moped. He and his wife visit Bali regularly and discovered how efficient mopeds were as a mode of travel. That makes sense.

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