Mad Mike Thrills Fans at Leadfoot Festival

One of New Zealand’s largest motorsport celebrations returned to racing legend Rod Millen’s Leadfoot Ranch in February. The Leadfoot Festival in Hahei was sponsored by Mazda New Zealand for the fifth year running and saw Mazda ambassador Mad Mike Whiddett curve his way around the track in his RADBUL MX-5 and RUMBUL truck.

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Competitors at this year’s race included Stephen Armstrong driving a 1982 RX-7 Group C, and Alan Austin behind the wheel of a 1992 RX-7 Series 6 V8. Attendees also enjoyed a display of classic cars and vintage motorcycles, while rubbing shoulders with some of the world’s biggest motorsport heroes.

Leadfoot Festival was founded in 2011, after the first event was held to mark Rod Millen’s 60th birthday. Following its success, the businesses of Hahei, motorsport clubs throughout New Zealand and the general public persuaded Rod and his wife Shelly to make it an annual public event. The event has since grown to become a celebration of racing heritage and all things motorsport for an international audience.

Leadfoot Festival

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Mazda3: Tailored to you

Watch as Mazda’s designers and Takumi craftsmen work on the All-New Mazda3’s interior details. The use of premium materials provides the car with unparalleled comfort and Japanese beauty.

CX-8 is Buzzing

Using a combination of imagination, technology and Kiwi ingenuity, the CX-8 Wire Challenge was born earlier this year. Debuting at the Skechers Women’s Half Marathon at Villa Maria in January, the Challenge gave women one shot to trace a giant buzz wire with the wand provided.

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The catch? When the wand touched the wire, a light flashed, and their attempt was over. Five lucky winners walked away with a $100 voucher, and the challenge was such a hit it was transported to the XTERRA Rotorua Festival in April to let race-goers have a go.

Mazda New Zealand began supporting the Skechers Women’s Half Marathon in 2012, and the event has since grown into a leading fixture on the women’s sporting calendar. Each year participants are offered the chance to enter their race-number into a draw in the hopes of winning a brand-new Mazda2 GSX.

First Ever Mazda CX-8

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Watch: From soccer injury to driving pleasure

Discover how a soccer injury inspired the forward-thinking approach to Mazda’s next-generation Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture. Mazda’s new technology is based around a human-centric approach to car design, and is geared towards key components working in harmony with the driver.

Mazda innovation


The latest TREEmendous schools across New Zealand have been announced. Children at Coromandel Area School (Coromandel), Hukerenui School (Far North), Aparima College (Riverton), Konini Primary School (Wellington) and Te Uku School (Raglan) will transform an area in their grounds into an interactive outdoor classroom with the help of the Mazda Foundation and Project Crimson.

Each year four New Zealand schools are selected to receive a $10,000 TREEmendous Event, while six runners-up are given $500 towards their own projects. Mazda ambassadors Rudd ‘the Bugman’ Kleinpaste (who appears in the video) and Riley 'Shark Man' Elliott will also be visiting the chosen schools, alongside a representative from a local Mazda dealership.

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The joint initiative aims to teach children the importance of caring for the environment by reconnecting with nature, while encouraging communities to join forces and volunteer at their local schools. Over the past 11 years, the Mazda Foundation and Project Crimson have worked with 44 schools across New Zealand, with some outdoor classrooms featuring bird habitats, lizard gardens and fruit orchards.


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Grand Designs

Kiwis got a glimpse of New Zealand’s finest architectural designs and gardens at the 11th annual NZ House & Garden Tour this year. Sponsored by Mazda for the third year running, the event supports the Breast Cancer Foundation NZ while giving residents the opportunity to step inside some of the country’s most celebrated homes.

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Highlights of this year’s tours included Dot Smith’s incredible Riverstone Castle (Oamaru), and the Grand Designs-featured Britten Stables in Christchurch (above). Mazda began sponsoring the event in 2017, supplying New Zealand’s largest charity house tours with a range of vehicles.

Five locations across the country were picked for this year’s event: Oamaru, Christchurch, Tauranga, Wairarapa and Auckland. Some participants met with design expert and editor of NZ House & Garden Sally Duggan, while Mazda offered attendees the chance to win a weekend getaway in one of their vehicles.

Photo: Weston McCredie

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Around the world

Mazda stories from across the globe

Japan Race car surfaces

Mazda famously won the 1991 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race with the 787B number 55 car, but the victory was the culmination of a decades-long programme that dates back to 1970. One of the 787B’s predecessors, the RX-7 254i, competed at Le Mans in 1982, then was sent back to Japan to take part in various local racing series before vanishing after the 1984 6 Hours of Fuji race. Now, after 35 years, the car has been found in a remote western prefecture of Japan, and is in the process of being restored.

New Zealand
Rotary Reunion

In February, New Zealand’s biggest rotary-only event was back for the fifth year running. The Rotary REunion (which Mazda sponsors) saw over 1000 spectators travel to the Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park in Taupo, to watch 400 rotary powered cars in action on track. The weekend-long event was filled with a host of events including cruising, drags, burnouts and drifting, and highlights included grip sessions and the ‘Show ’n’ Shine’ slot, where owners competed for trophies to take home.

Foundation for Success

Did you know that a percentage of every new Mazda sold in New Zealand goes to the Mazda Foundation? The Foundation, which was established in 2005, provides support for environmental, educational, cultural and arts initiatives across the country. From local community trusts protecting native flora and fauna to organisations helping those with disabilities, the Mazda Foundation gifted a record-breaking 112 Kiwis over $364,000 in 2018.

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One of those recipients was Wellington teenager Jack Tetley, who’s passionate about ocean conservation. Tetley, who wrote an essay to the Foundation about managing the Earth’s oceans, seas and resources, received $8,500 to fund his attendance at the Trust for Sustainable Living 2018 International Schools Essay Competition and Debate in the Seychelles.

During a beach clean-up at Greta Point, Jack said: “My plan was to educate and to eliminate. Educate people on the importance of conservation and eliminate single-use plastic items from every day.” Jack’s father Jonty added: “I’d like to thank the Mazda Foundation for making this opportunity, really a dream come true opportunity.” 

If you think your local community could benefit from the Mazda Foundation, apply for the next round of funding by clicking below.

Mazda Foundation

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