Museum makes for happy holidays

Bill Richardson Transport World executive director Jocelyn O'Donnell believes the museum now has the the largest display of retro McDonald's Happy Meal toys in New Zealand.
The Filet-o-Fish car is a highlight of the McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys collection at Bill Richardson Transport World.

SOME people collect stamps, others coins, but an Auckland woman had a passion for collecting McDonald’s Happy Meal toys.

Marian Burns’ mother Norma and stepfather Charles had collected McDonald’s memorabilia since the 1970s and their collection was now on display at the other end of the country.

Adding to the collection of vehicles, Bill Richardson Transport World was now home to what was believed to be the largest display of retro McDonald’s Happy Meal toys in New Zealand.

About 1500 toys were bought by Transport World executive director Jocelyn O’Donnell and would be on show at the museum in time for the school holidays.

Mrs O’Donnell said she decided to buy the collection for a couple of thousand dollars after Mrs Burns put it up for sale as she needed the money to help with her mother’s Alzheimer’s treatment.

“This is a cause that is very close to our hearts. So I purchased [the collection] and we moved it to Invercargill. She is very, very excited.”

Mrs O’Donnell then contacted the McDonald’s New Zealand office and ended up acquiring another bunch of toys as well as probably the quirkiest car in their collection – a Filet-o-Fish.

“They sent the picture of the car and I was just bouncing in my office – oh my gosh, that is the coolest thing.”

Mrs O’Donnell said the exhibit was put together to bring a smile to the faces of visitors to Transport World.

“It is just fun. I was talking to our workshop manager – ‘what do you think dad would think about me having a McDonald’s toy collection in this museum?’

“He said – you know what, I don’t think he would mind at all because he was always intrigued as to what people collect.”

The exhibit would be officially open in the first week of the school holidays.