Old School Trucks Nelson Loggers: Part 1

By: Dean Middleton, Photography by: Dean Middleton

Truck no. 1 Peter Friend from Brightwater ran this awesome International S-Line, pictured brand new in the early 1988 prior to hitting the road for its first load Truck no. 1
Truck no. 2 The RB Mack was then replaced with this Western Star named ‘Star Lady’ Truck no. 2
Truck no. 3 Bob Rauhihi had ‘British Beauty’, which was an E Series ERF Truck no. 3
Truck no. 4 Graham Ching replaced the Foden with this 124G, which he contracted to the G4 group of companies Truck no. 4
Truck no. 5 Lee Marquet carted woodchips from Baigents, Eves Valley mill to the stockpile at Port Nelson in this classic W923 Kenworth Truck no. 5
Truck no. 6 The Kenworth was replaced with this stunning FLA Freightliner, which was also a US import converted to right-hand drive locally by Thackwell Engineering Truck no. 6
Truck no. 7 Grant replaced the T-Line with this impressive Mack Ultraliner Truck no. 7
Truck no. 8 Jimmy Morrison commissioned this Freightliner, which was one of the first US-imported Freightliners to go on the road in New Zealand Truck no. 8
Truck no. 9 Then along came ‘Tuppence Junior’ a T480 Kenworth Truck no. 9
Truck no. 10 Peter Friend replaced the trusty S-Line with this RB model Mack Truck no. 10

Check out Part 1 of the Nelson Loggers, Old School trucks from the 80's and 90's that were popular in New Zealand before they phased out into larger transport operations

As a trucking enthusiast, the Nelson region has long been an interesting area to visit with the camera. The most obvious reason is that there’s no rail network, with the closest rail head being at Spring Creek near Blenheim some 112km (and a couple of decent mountain rangers) away from Nelson.

This coupled with the busy Nelson Port has long made the area a dense trucking area. In particular, large primary industries such as logging, wood chips, and timber made for plenty of loggers, chip liners, and heavy machinery hauliers to line up through the camera lens.

For me, the ’80s and early ’90’s were particularly interesting with numerous single logging truck independent owner operators and their unique and individual liveries. It was also interesting to see their gradual truck replacements over these years.


The independent operators were eventually phased out with some becoming larger transport operations, others contracting to the bigger logging companies, and some ceased owning trucks altogether.

The landscape was to change again when four of the major logging transport companies in the region joined forces to become G4 Logging and individual liveries were abandoned and these four companies adopted a plain bright yellow livery for the fleets involved in the joint venture.

For several years, most logging trucks became a sea of yellow throughout the top of the South Island.

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