ABOUT THE BUSINESS
Owned and operated by the Selfe Family, Oamaru Motorcycles Ltd (Oamaru Honda) is one of the North Otago‘s business success stories.
The family’s collective passion for motorcycles has resulted in the development of a thriving business well known for its skilled mechanics and quality service.
Rick’s interest in motorcycles was sparked by his brother and brother-in-law at the age of 10. Initially his interest lay in the racing and the family tradition of representative competition began, with Rick winning championships and representing the South Island.
Originally based in Oamaru‘s North End selling servicing Honda motorcycles and Stihl chainsaws, Rick managed the first shop after completing a motor mechanic apprenticeship followed by an adult apprenticeship as a motorcycle mechanic.
The business grew steadily in the 70’s, not only selling Honda but also Yamaha and a few Suzuki’s. By the early 1980’s the business had outgrown its North End base, prompting a move to Ribble Street in mid – 1981 and going with Honda only.
This expansion coincided with the arrival of three-wheeler and later four-wheeler bikes, which have grown to become the mainstay of Oamaru Motorcycles Ltd.
The 1980’s saw some great achievements for the business. In 1983 Honda awarded Rick a trip to Japan in recognition of his achievements as a dealer. Two years later, he won another trip to Japan after being named Honda‘s top dealer for business Operations. This was followed in 1988 by nationwide recognition for the Oamaru based business when Rick was named Honda‘s dealer of the year.
North Otago from the late 1980’s and again for a short time in the early 90’s experienced extreme droughts. Making life tough on farmers and local business.
The workshop carried Oamaru Motorcycles through these tough years, averaging only 30 to 40 new bike sales a year.
By the mid 90’s life at Oamaru Motorcycles slowly but surely started to improve, with dairy farms starting to appear more and more. Oamaru Motorcycles only employed two, including Rick. Son Blair and wife Rebecca moved to Europe in 97 but Blair was back for our Summer’s to help Rick with the workload. Rick was a battler so he knew what it took to survive in business, start earlier and work later. The 80,s and early 90’s taught him that.
1999 saw Brad join the team as a mechanic. With Blair still working in Europe Brad took some pressure off.
From the year 2000 Oamaru Motorcycles started to grow rapidly, dairy was on the up and the demand for NZ no.1 farm bikes was also up.
2002 marked Oamaru Motorcycles 30th year selling Honda motorcycles, plus STIHL products.
2003 rolled around and Rick and Jan took a trip to Australia to talk youngest son Leighton into returning home with soon to be wife Kimberly Stringer to take up the salesman role. Which he did without hesitation and joined the team in 2004.
Oamaru Motorcycles had out grown there Ribble street premises so the hunt was on for a bigger location and they found that fairly quickly with their current location at 394 Thames Highway opening the doors in December 2005.
Mainly stocking Honda farm bikes and off road bikes along with STIHL products Oamaru Motorcycles grew and grew, Rick found it hard to grasp the growth but his boys assured him and guided him through this daunting process.
2010 saw Oamaru Motorcycles STIHL division grow to the point of right! WE need more room! So with a hammer in hand some walls were removed and extend into 394/B Thames highway and putting in a dedicated STIHL SHOP and workshop.
With That Kevin Milmine joined the team as workshop foreman with Leighton and Rick running the sales.
2012 4o years with HONDA and STIHL
2012 marked 40 years selling Honda and STIHL products making Oamaru Motorcycles New Zealand’s longest serving mono Honda dealer and New Zealand’s longest serving STIHL dealer.
2012 it was time to re-shuffle, With Honda bikes in more demand than ever Leighton needed to focus on that, So Brad moved from the workshop into selling STIHL products in the STIHL SHOP side.
This bringing new opportunity for young apprentice to join the Honda workshop.
2014 saw the revolutionary Pioneer SXS hit the NZ market with a storm, and with this starts a new era with Honda for Oamaru Motorcycles Ltd.
STIHL have launched themselves into Lithium ion battery technology also so for STIHL its only one way from here. Plus there ever growing range of world beating products.
In 40+ years Oamaru Motorcycles has cemented itself as the leading motorcycle and power equipment dealer in the North Otago district. From small beginnings employing 2 people to now 9 full time staff. Rick say’s “if it wasn’t for my boys joining me on this journey, I don’t know if I could of done it”
Rick still arrives every morning at 7.30am, he can’t break the habit. But by midday he’s gone and heads home to restore classic MX bikes as you can see some below. His passion for motorcycle’s certainly runs deep in his veins and Honda is especially in-graved into the Selfe family name.
2017 marks 45 years of Oamaru Motorcycles Ltd. Rick broke the habit of 7.30 and is now happily retired potting around restoring bikes at home.