Special report: Embracing the industry

By: Lyndsay Whittle, Photography by: Supplied

Deals on Wheels visited NZ Trucking Association’s HQ in Islington to get the oil on what the team has been up to recently

A relatively small team consisting of David Boyce, Carol McGeady, Rebecca Dinmore, and recently-appointed office administrator Diana George, packs a big punch when it comes to providing mentorship to owners of businesses both large and small.


Safety MAN parked up at the Trucking Industry Summit in May

We caught up with project and communications manager Rebecca, who told us about two recent events the association has put on for its members in the last couple of months.

NZ Trucking Association is multi-faceted, as it not only provides advice and commentary to its members by way of newsletters and regular articles such as Dave’s monthly Deals on Wheels contribution but it also organises events for its members to keep them informed about the changes in the industry.

The NZ Trucking Industry Summit organised by Dave and the team—which was recently held in Christchurch and attracted around 200 attendees—is one example of the organisation’s commitment to keeping its members up to date and well-informed on the imperatives of running a successful business in today’s hugely competitive environment.

The association’s flagship MAN Safety Truck, AKA Safety MAN, is always at the ready for mobilisation to inform and educate New Zealanders on a wide range of road transport issues, covering all aspects of the industry, ranging from driver safety initiatives to promoting recruitment in the transport sector.

While it may sound like a cliché, the NZ Trucking Association team actually love the industry they represent; in fact, they live in it. Part of the proof of that statement lies in the fact that Dave Boyce has spent 40 years in trucking, starting out in the late 1970s, driving a ubiquitous TK Bedford.

Although he says he enjoyed driving the old-school trucks, he reckons that it’s not a patch on climbing behind the wheel of the MAN Safety Truck with its 640hp powerplant and all the other mod cons it has on offer.

In the interview on the day of our visit, Rebecca gave a round-up of two recent NZ Trucking organised events, one at Christchurch’s Horncastle Arena and the other a delegation to the Brisbane Truck Show.

While the two events were designed to cater to quite separate audiences, it’s apparent that the glue that bound them together was enthusiasm and a genuine desire to make doing business fun.

Careers Day

TR Group inspiring the next generation

The Horncastle Arena event, by all accounts, was well patronised with 11 companies taking part in the three-day event. Rebecca explains that the team set up a ‘trucking careers hub’, which was particularly designed to appeal to high-school students and aimed at promoting the trucking industry as an exciting and worthwhile career choice.

While around 8000 students, their teachers, and career advisors passed through the hub, Rebecca says the team also had good engagement with a large contingent of adults looking at career pathway changes.

The popular Protranz DAF

She says that a particular highlight of the event was an open-night where students who had already attended the daytime programme with their teachers, came back with their parents on the Thursday night to further explore possible recruitment into the trucking industry.

As she points out, the industry doesn’t just need truck drivers; it needs a wide range of skillsets in order to operate.

The Trucking Careers Hub

Rebecca adds that the event had an element of "teaching the teachers" as well as attracting the students, as there still appears to be some reluctance from careers advisors in considering the transport sector as a viable career path.

Brisbane Trucking Tour

Big stands at the Brisbane Truck Show

There’ll be a lot of talk going on within the New Zealand trucking fraternity along the lines of "you should’ve come with us to the NZ Trucking Association’s Brisbane Trucking Tour mate".

Evidently, it was one of those organised trips overseas that no self-respecting trucker would’ve wanted to miss out on. Nobody could have faked the beaming smile Rebecca had as she recounted the trip to Aussie.

Eighty-five people joined the NZ Trucking Association’s team on the trip, but Rebecca says that figure could have been 100 or more.  In the end, she says they had to turn people away.

The Vintage Truck Show at Rocklea Showgrounds

The programme was designed to be the ultimate experience for people who make a living in the trucking game, as it included two factory tours: one to the Penske Australia facility and the other to the Volvo factory.

Included in the programme was a Telarc Navman networking evening, which provided an ideal opportunity to network with likeminded diesel heads.

Tour of the Penske Australia factory

Naturally, there was a two-day segment to visit the Brisbane Truck Show, along with an opportunity to visit a vintage truck show at Rocklea Showgrounds. The fun didn’t end there, as a visit to the Mack Museum, which Mack put on for a 100-year anniversary was a hit with the travellers as well.

After hearing about a full-on excursion such as the Brisbane Trucking Tour, the question had to be asked as to whether NZ Trucking Association had any plans to venture further afield, perhaps to the US.

Meeting Yogi Kendall (fourth from left) from Discovery Channel’s Outback Truckers

The response was a prompt yes. Rebecca says the ‘vibe’ had already been put out there and people have asked to have their names put at the top of the list. When asked if it would be a problem if 100 people put their names forward for a trip to the US, Rebecca says, "Not a problem; we’ll make that happen."

It’s unbelievably easy to be part of the action. All you have to do is call or e-mail the team at NZ Trucking Association and they’ll walk you through the steps required to become involved. Give them a call; the enthusiasm you’ll be caught up in, will be worth the effort just for starters.

For more information, call 0800 338 338, e-mail info@nztruckingassn.co.nz or visit nztruckingassn.co.nz.

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