In 1969 the Wellington Car Club organised the first European style stage rally held in New Zealand - the Silver Fern. There were 33 competitors, the rally began in Taupo and 22 cars crossed the finish line in Wellington.
In 1970 the Silver Fern moved south, run by the Canterbury Car Club. 65 cars started, 44 finished.
Wellington Car Club with Heatway Industries organised the first international event in 1971, under the direction of Murray Thompson.