Comment: An act of kindness

By: Nick Leggett, Road Transport CEO

The Pukerua Bay community went all out to help the hundreds of truckies tapped during the day-long closure of SH1 through Kaikoura

There’s a theory among some of the more paranoid within society that if and when we are faced with a crisis or society no longer meets our needs that human beings are predisposed to turn on each other in an ‘every man for himself’ style scenario.

RTF presented a $1000 donation to Pukerua Bay School to acknowledge and thank the community’s help during the day-long closure of SH1, north of Wellington

We have all seen the TV shows and joked about barricading the front door, but some people do take it seriously.

This way of thinking is the basis of the survivalist or prepper movement in the US and often involves arming oneself to the teeth for the inevitable time when the descent into anarchy begins. I find this to not only be an extremely depressing outlook on the world but also completely out of step with human nature.

Pukerua Bay community goes the extra mile

One only has to look at how the Canterbury community dealt with the aftermath of the terrible earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 as well as the incredible effort to make up for the loss of State Highway 1 through Kaikoura to see that, in fact, the opposite takes place. In adversity, people pull together, share resources, and go the extra mile to help each other out.

The recent day-long closure of State Highway 1, north of Wellington on the eve of Labour Weekend, while nowhere near as dramatic and life-threatening as a major natural event, nevertheless once again proved that when life gets tough and throws up challenges, people look after each other.

With hundreds of trucks trapped on the highway for up to 16 hours, the local Pukerua Bay community took it upon themselves to do their best to take care of the drivers. Locals paid for pizzas out of their own pockets, shops and residents offered refreshments, and barbeques were brought out to help feed everyone.

Port-a-loos and toilet facilities were set up or opened especially for drivers and everyone was generally made as comfortable as possible as they waited for the road to reopen.

As RTA area executive Sandy Walker said in describing the actions of the community, "the locals really stepped up and we have heard nothing but praise from our drivers for what the Pukerua Bay residents, school, and businesses did to keep them comfortable."

I can honestly say that RTF has not heard of one ounce of resentment at the inconvenience to the Pukerua Bay community or the fact that trucks were backed up down the highway and would take a while to clear or that the unfortunate event was down to an incident with a truck in the first place. The actions of the community proved the point again that when others are in need, people help each other out.

As a local, I already knew Pukerua Bay was an amazing community; they outdid themselves with their efforts. It was also a heartening example of how local communities positively perceive our industry and respect and appreciate the challenging job that our drivers do.

To acknowledge this and thank the Pukerua Bay community for all their efforts, RTF presented a $1000 donation to Pukerua Bay School. While the donation can never match the local’s generosity, it is at least a token of our industry’s gratitude, and we hope that it signals to the school, residents, and local businesses just how grateful we are for what they did.

Finally, well done to Sandy Walker, John Anderson, Neil Reid, and everyone involved in the donation. $1000 is a small price to pay to help support such a caring and generous community.

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