The Kiwigoa service evolved from discussions with Mike and Gayle McMaster’s daughters, Sarah, Katie, Lisa and Amy. The four daughters were in their early twenties, and the family had moved from country living to city dwelling. The daughters believed there was a need for a low cost, safe, short distance ride in town areas that taxis often were not keen to do. Their vision was for a novel passenger transport service that complemented but did not compete with existing bus, taxi and shuttle services.
From those initial family debates, the idea for the vehicle evolved over four years beginning with a simple electric powered rickshaw design. This idea had too many limitations – too slow, limited range, weight restrictions.
Mike decided the project had to go ‘back to scratch’ and purpose-build a vehicle ideally suited for the task. Using the tricycle configuration of the auto rickshaw as his model, Mike set about developing a machine for comfortable, safe, fun short distance conveyance for up to three passengers.
A hard-top tricycle prototype, fitted with the reliable, economical Suzuki Swift power plant, was constructed for Mike by James Engineering in Rangiora The prototype’s distinctive pointy snout and big rear end so clearly evoked the profile of our national bird that the name ‘Kiwigoa’ was an easy one to adopt.
In 2015, Mike established a relationship with the internationally renowned heartland New Zealand hot rod/custom car designer and manufacturer Magoo’s Street Rods. Magoo’s Masterton-based owner Lloyd Wilson and his talented team of specialists provided further design inspiration and refinement for the Kiwigoa. The resulting passenger vehicle is a superb example of New Zealand design, innovation and manufacturing.
Hand in hand with the Kiwigoa vehicle development, Mike and Gayle McMaster have developed a small business idea to encourage motivated, capable people, whatever their social or economic circumstances, to have an opportunity to own and operate their own business without a large capital outlay. The Kiwigoa service is based on this business model of local owner/operators running thriving low cost, safe, small passenger vehicle services.
A truly Kiwi-inspired concept has evolved into a clever, iconic, practical passenger transport vehicle. And it’s manufactured in New Zealand’s heartland. You can’t get more Kiwi than that.