Old School Trucks: Rooney Earthmoving — Part 1

By: Dean Middleton, Photography by: Dean Middleton

1 3 An all-time personal Rooney favourite of mine was this twin air cleaner and twin stack R-Model Mack pictured back in 1992 1 3
2 3 The same truck pictured close to a decade later 2 3
3 3 This R-Model was an earlier model and was a more basic spec 3 3
4 3 Another R-Model in truck and trailer configuration 4 3
5 3 R-Model Macks were a common sight in the fleet; several were inherited from the Southern Transport/Tregenza era 5 3
6 3 A rugged and classic-looking International T-line 6 3
7 3 A 1984 model 2638 Mercedes-Benz, which was prime heavy hauling gear back in the day 7 3
8 3 Tregenza’s original green livery seen on an R-Model Mack pictured near-new in the mid-’80s 8 3
9 3 One of the last batches of R-Model Macks assembled in NZ, this truck was put on the road new in 1988 still in Tregenza’s original colours but under Southern Transport ownership 9 3
10 3 The same truck many years later in Rooney-converted livery with Tregenza signage 10 3
11 3 The Southern Transport influence was eventually recognised under their ownership with new Tregenza trucks being commissioned in Southern’s colour scheme 11 3
12 3 The same truck in Tregenza/Rooney livery 12 3
13 3 A tried-and-trusted MC Mack pictured on transporter duties 13 3
14 3 The Rooney-owned Tregenza fleet gradually became uniform with the Rooney colours 14 3
15 4 A smart CH Mack on tipper duties 15 4
16 3 One of a pair of near-identical LTS 9000 Ford Louisvilles pictured back in the late ’90s 16 3
17 3 The other Louisville 17 3
18 3 One of the first Mercedes-Benz Actros models to enter the fleet back in 1999 18 3
19 3 Another Actros, this one displaying the Rooney Earthmoving signage 19 3

In Part 1, Deals on Wheels takes a look at some Rooney and Tregenza trucking from the ’80s through to the early 2000s

Rooney Earthmoving can trace its roots back to 1976 when founder Gary Rooney went into business with a single bulldozer, based in Waimate, South Canterbury.

The company has since grown to be one of New Zealand’s largest and well-known Civil Contractor and has several other companies under the Rooney Group Banner.

As always, my interest lies in the trucking and transport divisions of non-general transport companies.

The first Rooney’s truck that turned my head back in the late ’80s was an R-Model Mack on transporter duties that really looked the part with twin stacks and twin air cleaners, and there were many more of the bulldog brand to come.

Rooney had various acquisitions over the years and one of these was Timaru-based G E Tregenza.

When I first began photographing trucks in the early ’80s, G E Tregenza were dark green with a light green stripe and R-Model Macks were the breadwinners of the fleet.

The company was then bought under the Richardson Group banner and gradually the livery was changed to mimic their sister company, Southern Transport.

The mid-’90s was when G E Tregenza changed hands again and came under Rooney’s ownership.

The Tregenza/Southern livery had another major change with Rooney’s colour scheme coming to the fore, but the company still operated under the Tregenza banner.

Different makes and models graced the fleet over the next few years, many of them inherited from the previous owners. The Mack brand was the mainstay for a time before Mercedes-Benz began to gather ascendancy in the fleet.

The year 1999 saw the first of the new-generation Mercedes-Benz Actros model enter the fleet and the brand has dominated the fleet since.

Next month, we take a look at fleet pictures from the early 2000s to today.

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