Porter Press Extra: Greenfingers Growing Mixes

By: Ed, Photography by: Ed

A garden supply company uses four Hyundai wheel loaders in their busy Kamo business and has recently received their seventh machine from Porter Equipment


Driving past, it’s evident Greenfingers Growing Mixes and Landscape Supplies yard is a sizeable operation, although you need to walk around on-site to really appreciate the scale of the family-run business. It quickly makes sense why four large Hyundai wheel loaders are needed to keep the work flowing.

Murray Cole (right) with son Max form half of the family-run business

Located in the industrial hub of Whangarei’s northernmost suburb of Kamo, Murray and Sharon Cole established the Greenfingers Growing Mixes Ltd company just over 26 years ago, continuing on from Sharon’s father Peter Robinson, who began a nursery and garden supply business in 1986, after purchasing what was the old Kamo Brick Factory Site and buildings.

Today in 2022, they are assisted by son Max and with their daughter Jacqui alongside when young family commitments allow. A normal working day will also see some 20 staff working within the company on a host of production, customer service and administration duties.

At around 13 acres (5.25 hectares), the primary Kamo yard is a hive of activity, with a busy landscape supply yard that somewhat obscures the hub of the operation, this being the industrial-scale machines producing bark products and specialised garden mixes for large-scale growers, primarily in the Auckland and Northland regions.

The main operation in Kamo is underpinned by a bark storage facility nearby and retail yard closer to the centre of Whangarei City. With the thousands of cubic metres the company processes each year, it’s obvious why a number of Hyundai wheel loaders are required.

The latest addition to the fleet — the Hyundai HL740XTD-9

The latest addition to the fleet is a Hyundai HL740XTD-9 ((XTD=extended arm)) and is the seventh Hyundai to enter the Greenfingers fleet since the company made their first purchase in 2007.

The HL740XTD-9 is the seventh Hyundai to enter the Greenfingers fleet

"When we purchase a new machine, we often trade in the old one, but with more people getting into gardening over the last couple of years, our workload has increased and it made sense to hold onto the old one," says Murray.

Weighing it at 12,300kg and powered by a Tier-III Cummins QSB6.7 engine (145hp/108kW@2100rpm), the HL740XTD-9 comes with a fully automatic transmission and features variable shift control, with four selectable modes, depending on the work application.

The HL740XTD-9 provides a minimised footprint of 7780mm when load carrying 

With the tight confines of the yard, the HL740XTD-9 provides a minimised footprint of 7780mm when load carrying but does not skimp on ability, with an enviable 2.3 cubic metre bucket size.

The use of wide windscreens and a rear-view camera ensures the operator understands their surrounding environment at all times. A tight workspace is particularly noticeable in the undercover the bark processing shed, where a Hyundai HL730-9 is at continual work feeding the plant and loading out waiting trucks.

The Hyundai is at continual work feeding the plant and loading out waiting trucks

The work confines need to be seen to be appreciated, with not much more than 100mm separating the top of the wheel loader from the underside of some of the conveyors, and tight turns a constant necessity.

The skill of Murray and Sharon’s staff and Hyundai design elements are evident here, with only two minor scratches to the rear bumper, despite the many hours of operating within the bark shed.

"One primary factor in keeping with the same brand is the ability for staff to easily move from one loader to the next and be totally familiar with the machine. It allows for safe and efficient operating," says Murray.


At the far end of the site is another bark processing operation and here another Hyundai HL740XTD-9 feeds a hungry trommel screen, one of two situated around the property. The amount of bark in storage is quite phenomenal, and understandable how hours can be quickly clocked up on the machinery.

"Being a seasonal business, our bark storage builds up over winter, so this and our overflow yard down the road are usually almost filled to capacity and the loaders are kept busy stockpiling," says Murray. "This will all empty out by the beginning of next winter."

Like many long-term Porter Equipment customers, Murray says they appreciate the prompt attention they get and knowing that a service branch is nearby when required, adds
to peace of mind.

"We’ve purchased Hyundai for a few years and it’s a brand we find works well for us.
The value for what’s supplied must be difficult for other brands to compete with. It’s the whole package that suits our business well, from the familiarity of the machines for our staff, through to the compatibility of the equipment for our needs."


For more information on Greenfingers Growing Mixes Ltd, visit greenfingersgrowingmixes.co.nz

Find new and used excavators for sale in NZ

Keep up to date in the industry by signing up to Deals on Wheels' free newsletter or liking us on Facebook