Old School Trucks: Hokonui Rural Transport

By: Dean Middleton, Photography by: Dean Middleton

1 The 8x4 EC11 ERF arriving at the Gore Truck Show in the late ’90s 1
2 Parked up with the sister truck in Christchurch in 1999 2
3 One of the Foden Alphas on a general freight run through to Christchurch 3
4 In 2003, Hokonui Haulage was split into two companies: Hokonui Rural Transport Ltd (HRT) and Hokonui Haulage (2003) Ltd 4
5 A near-new Hino 700 posing for a pick at the 2005 Alexandra Truck Show 5
6 A mighty 4x4 T series Nissan Diesel spreader 6
7 MANs ruled the spreader division when this pic was taken back in 2009 7
8 The mid-2000s saw a preference for FH Volvos in the livestock division 8
9 A partial fleet line-up in 2006 showing the Volvo influence 9
10 This FH Volvo was shot still earning its keep in 2014 10
11 The first Freightliner Argosy to join the fleet, pictured brand-new in 2009 11
12 The first Argosy changed the look of the Volvo-dominated line-up 12
13 This Argosy was pictured at the 2017 Alexandra Truck Show 13
14 Advantage was taken with the new HPMV rules as seen on this nine-axle Century Class Freightliner 14
15 One of the K200 Kenworths in showroom condition at the 2016 Invercargill Truck Show 15
16 A Freightliner Argosy looking every bit as good at the 2018 event 16
17 A Volvo FH540 on seasonal milk tanker duties 17
18 DAF has had many of the brand wear the smart HRT livery 18
19 A CF85 DAF frontline livestock unit 19

Deals on Wheels writer Dean Middleton takes a look at the impressive fleet of the Gore-based company

The year was 1996 in the town of Gore in the deep South when four local transport companies amalgamated to form Hokonui Haulage Limited. The colours of the previous brands were eventually phased out and the dark green and white liveried trucks with bright yellow signage became commonplace in the Southland region.

Both the rural and freight side of the business thrived for the following six years until 2003 when one company became two. The rural designated portion of the company became Hokonui Rural Transport (HRT) and the general freight side of the company became Hokonui Haulage (2003) Limited.

The HRT cab doors, rooftop aero kits, and stock crates wore the smart new modern-looking HRT logo. In 2004, the company became a 50/50 joint venture between the HW Richardson Group (HWR) and two local shareholders.

Volvos were introduced into the fleet and the bulk of the frontline livestock fleet had the diagonal grille bar on them. MANs were popular as spreaders through the early 2000s and from them, Mercedes-Benz spreaders found favour.

Freightliner was the next major brand of choice with many Argosys predominantly on livestock duties and a nine-axle century class bulk tipper Century class. In more recent times, trucks have been ordered from the Paccar stable with both Kenworths and DAFs being given the nod, however, interestingly, one of the latest acquisitions has been a new-generation Scania.

Today, the impressive Gore-based fleet runs around 25 trucks with HWR remaining the major shareholder with manager Adam Waghorn as the other shareholder. Hokonui Haulage (2003) Limited also remain Gore based and with the same livery as the original Hokonui Haulage trucks wore more than 17 years ago.

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