Profile: Giant loaders

By: Lyndsay Whittle, Photography by: Lyndsay Whittle

When Chris Harrison, managing director of Easy Big Trees of Invercargill needs to move a big tree, he puts one of his three Giant loaders to work to get the job done

With over 70,000 trees and shrubs in stock and sites at North Road, Waikiwi and Pomona Road, Makarewa, Easy Big Trees is the largest big tree and big shrub grower in the South Island.

Easy -Big -Trees

At both sites there are always trees to be picked up and placed on the back of a truck, or simply moved to another part of the site, all of which has to be done in the most timely manner, at the same time as being gentle on the tree being moved or loaded.

The company’s motto is ‘Grow South – Plant North’, so given that Easy Big Trees supplies its products New Zealand-wide (and that you can’t go much further south than Invercargill), it follows that there must be an awful lot of trees transported north over the course of a year, giving Chris’ three trusty Giant wheel loaders a good-old workout.

Getting on the Giant loaders

Giant -loaders

Chris says that the first Giant loader he purchased was a Tendo 4548HD telehandler that he saw advertised online by Forestquip. A phone call to Richard Henkelman, Forestquip’s sales and marketing manager who is based in Tauranga, led to Chris hopping on a plane (or two) to make the trip up to the Bay of Plenty to take a first-hand look at the machine. All it took was an hour or two of forming a bond with the machine and Chris says he was hooked.

It wasn’t long before the Tendo 4548HD was putting in some hard graft at Easy Big Trees’ retail yard at Waikiwi. However the machine’s tenure there was only short, as it was soon discovered it would be better-suited to use at the larger Pomona Road site. Chris recalls his original interest in the Giant brand was formed at the Waimumu Field Days four years ago.

Tendo -4548HD

Today though, we had a large pivot-steer machine for the day to trial. Designed and manufactured in the Netherlands by TOBROCO, the Giant name was coined by taking the word ‘giant’ and incorporating the word ‘ant’ in the body of the whole, given that an ant is renowned for its ability to carry many times its own weight. Some very clever word play indeed

Giant wheel loaders are powered by Kubota diesel engines with capacities ranging from 20-66 horsepower (15-50kW). In fact Giant machines are actually branded ‘Kubota’ in Europe.

Having owned the Tendo telehandler for a number of months and having been really pleased with its performance, Chris got to thinking about rationalising the size of his fleet at the Waikiwi retail site. He decided to replace his skid steer loader and a forklift with a single Giant that could perform both tasks equally well.


Chris phoned Forestquip’s head office in Christchurch and spoke to managing director John Hansen about the possibility of replacing the two machines with a single Giant loader.

After considering issues such as tight manoeuvres that often need to be made within the confines of the site and the necessity of changing attachments quickly and effortlessly, a Giant D337T pivot-steer was decided upon. This is 300mm narrower than the Tendo 4548HD, which is similar in width than a forklift.


The -Giant -D337T

Warren Haggerty, the man who is the D337T’s main operator, says the machine is a pleasure to operate and that it’s very manoeuvrable due to the fact it is a pivot-steer model.

He also says that he no longer has to climb out of one machine and into another to perform different tasks, as was the case with the skid steer and forklift combination. Aside from being able to change the machine from a loader to a forklift without exiting the cab because of its Euro Hitch, Warren says that he also likes the extra-length boom which is fitted to the machine. This allows him to load high-sided trailers and the like with ease from both sides.

Purchasing a machine and buying a second machine of the same brand is surely recommendation enough, not only of the brand itself but also of the supplier who provides the necessary backup. Chris Harrison was so pleased with his two acquisitions of Giant machines from Forestquip, he recently decided to add a third to his stable.

The Giant D254SW Tele mini-loader 

When an increased workload at his Makarewa site created a requirement for yet another telehandler to be placed into service, Chris called on John at Forestquip once again to talk about his requirements for the third Giant machine. Here, it was decided that a Giant D254SW Tele mini-loader would fit all of Chris’ operational requirements.

Andrew Twaites, who has been operating the D254SW since it arrived at the yard, was seen on the day of the DOW visit, flat stick moving shrubs hither and yon with a big smile on his face, which needed no further explanation as to what his thoughts are about Chris’ latest purchase.

Chris said he’d made a conscious decision to fit turf tyres to the D254SW, which is a decision he’s largely pleased with due to the fact there is less damage to the ground that the D254SW travels over.

He does say that, on occasion, there is a price to pay when the machine becomes stuck where a machine with standard tyres would fly through. But he reiterates the advantages of the turf tyres definitely outweigh the disadvantages overall.

About Easy Big Trees

Easy Big Trees grow hardy trees and shrubs in the Deep South that will grow well anywhere, and a large range of hardy New Zealand natives and exotic deciduous trees and shrubs grown in their nursery in Southland. And the Giant machinery makes it all that much easier too.

Giant loader specifications


Giant Tendo 4548HD Telehandler Basic Specifications

Max lift: 2.45 t
Max lift height: 4.80m
Lift capacity @ max height: 1,420kg
Length to fork face: 3.15m
Width: 1.60m
Engine: Kubota 1505 T (Turbocharged)
HP: 45

Giant D254 SW Basic Specifications

Weight: 1.2t
Turning radius: 1.967m
Engine: Kubota D902
HP: 24HP (18kW)
Number of cylinders: 3
Travel speed: 15km/h
Length: 2.87m

Giant D337T Pivot Steer Basic Specifications

Lifting height: 2825mm
Length without bucket: 2975mm
Width on standard tyres: 1040mm
Driving mechanism: Hydrostatic 4-wheel drive with automotive control on axles

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