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NZ Road Transport Hall of Fame Gains More Inductees



NZ Road Transport Hall of Fame Gains More Inductees

Guests gathered at Bill Richardson Transport World in Invercargill tonight to honour the five latest inductees to the NZ Road Transport Hall of Fame Awards.

Two posthumous awards were made, one to Bernie MacDonald MBE formerly of Te Karaka near Gisborne, and the other to former Ashburton transport operator Robert Alexander (Bob) Burnett. No one was able to be present to receive MacDonald's award while Bob Burnett's daughter Adrienne and son-in-law Murray Francis accepted his award on behalf of the family. The other award winners were all in attendance to receive their awards.

The full list of 2015 inductees follows:


After starting out as a fitter and turner Bernie brought his own metal truck in 1952. With brother Angus as a partner they moved to Te Karaka and bought a carrying business from A E Law. More acquisitions were made to build up MacDonald's Transport. All the while he was fully involved in his community through many organisations and in 1981 his service to the community was recognised with an MBE. He was a member of the Poverty Bay East Coast Road Transport Association from the beginning and served as a committee member for 25 years including terms as President and Vice President. In 1993 he was made a life member of the local association in recognition of his service to the transport industry in the district. He also served on the New Zealand Road Transport Associations Council from 1978 to 1990. He passed away in March 1995 at the age of 67.

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Bob commenced business as a motor mechanic before purchasing a truck to help his farmer clients who were having problems with cartage of their produce. Bob soon saw the potential of commercial road transport and moved to Ashburton and started his company. His business grew steadily and by the early 1970's his transport operations had progressed from one truck to one of the South Island's largest companies operating in excess of 120 truck and trailer units.

The company had formed into a public company in 1961 and was involved in a merger to create Brambles Burnett Ltd. In 1980 Brambles Burnett was taken over by Mogal Corporation, Bob remaining on the Board as Chairman until his retirement in 1981, aged 72. He passed away in 1983.


Dave Potter's grandad used to deliver parcels around Dunedin with a horse and cart and that is where Dave got his passion for transport. After jobs as a delivery boy and training as a cinema projectionist he started driving the Midland Coaches Starliner between Christchurch and Dunedin. Various management opportunities in the industry followed before driving for Dave Newton Transport in Christchurch. In 1990 he returned to Dunedin and became the Secretary of the Otago Road Transport Association. In 1994 he became the Regional Secretary for NZ Road Transport Association Region 5.


The son of a transport business owner, Neil Reid had a variety of jobs in his younger days. Originally from Reefton he moved around the country and in 1974 he joined the Road Transport division of the Freightways Group as Invercargill Manager. During his time in Invercargill he served as Branch Chairman of the Road Transport Association before transferring to Christchurch in 1977 to become Operations Manager for Guthreys Freightways. In 1980 he moved to Blenheim to commence employment with the Freighting Division of Newmans Group as Manager of Marlborough Transport Ltd. The Newmans Group Freighting Division was sold to Transpac Holdings which was placed into receivership in 1988. A new company TNL Group was formed and despite difficult times after Hookers took over the shareholding of the late Garth Butler in 2003 the turnover increased from $35 million to $70 million with in excess of 300 staff and around 180 trucks. Neil disposed of his shares in 2007 and his interest in the industry continues with independent directorships of several companies and Chairmanship of the Road Transport Forum.


It was 20 years after leaving school that Ralph Munn moved into the transport industry. His first job saw him as Dealer Principal of Farmers and Contractors Supplies Limited, the International Harvester Dealership for the West Coast. Despite only selling when his management role allowed he took the IH Top Truck Sales Award two years in a row. In 1986 he became Managing Director for Ross Holdings Westland Ltd, the same year he joined the Road Transport Association. He was appointed West Coast Vice President in June 1987 and in 1993 became the President, holding the position until he moved to Christchurch in 1999 after which he became the Christchurch President. He held many other roles in the industry and is a Life Member of the NZ Road Transport Association Region 4. In 2004 he became South Island Team Leader for Hookers, retiring in 2007 only to be lured back into the industry as North Fuels South Fuels Fleet Manager from 2008-2012.

The proceeds of a Charity Auction during the Hall Of Fame function will go to the ProActive Driver Training Trust which provides free driver training to secondary school students.

The latest five inductees join the inaugural inductees from 2012, Bill Richardson, Sir Robert Owens, Jim Barker, John Emmerson, Lachie Griffin, Neil Clarke, Ron Carpenter and Tony Friedlander plus the 2013 and 2014 inductees - George Wallis, Jim Ramsay, Sir Russell Pettigrew, Bert Godfrey, George Tyler, Cyril Mahon, Les MacKenzie, John Anderson, Mike Lambert, Melven (Rowdy) Aitken and Les Cleveland .

The Hall of Fame was initiated by Scott and Jocelyn O'Donnell of HW Richardson Group after attending a similar awards function in Australia in 2011. They returned to New Zealand and initiated the concept on this side of the Tasman just nine months later, four hundred and fifty people attending the inaugural awards gala dinner which also marked the opening of the Hall of Fame.

Sponsors of the NZ Road Transport Hall of Fame are Allied Lubricants - Mobil Delvac 1, Sime Darby Commercial - Mack Trucks, Volvo, Hino, UD Trucks and Truck Stops, Gough Group - Gough TWL and Gough Transpecs, Mobil Oil NZ, Coretex, VTNZ, General Tyres, EECA, Wynn Williams Lawyers and Transport & General Engineers (Transport Trailers).

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