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Six New Inductees for NZ Road Transport Hall of Fame


Six New Inductees for NZ Road Transport Hall of Fame
Over 570 guests from around New Zealand and Australia gathered at Bill Richardson Transport World in Invercargill tonight to honour the six latest inductees to the NZ Road Transport Hall of Fame.
Associate Minister Of Transport Craig Foss was present to award the inductees in the fifth year of the awards, but the first since the Bill Richardson Transport World facility was fully completed and opened to the public in December 2015.
The full list of 2016 inductees follows:
Stan Williamson – Taranaki/Bay Of Plenty
Semi-retired at the age of 90, Stan formed Maketu Contractors Ltd in 1953.
The company prospered until illness of one partner meant the breakup of the business, with Stan taking on the burgeoning logging sector. His company expanded within the usual ups and downs of the transport industry and he built a successful business before selling the last of his fleet to Rotorua Forest Haulage Ltd.
During all of this he was heavily involved with the Road Transport Association
and in 1983, he was made a Life Member of No. 2 Central Executive, a Life Member of RTA Region 2 in 1983, and a Life Member of the NZRTA in 1993.

Paul Balneaves - Southland

In 1974 Paul joined the IRD, which eventually took him to London. He was still employed by the IRD when his father gave him a small shareholding in the family transport business.

In 1980 he moved from London back to Pukemaori in Southland and four years later circumstances meant he had to step up to the challenge of running the company. Purchases of log transport companies Crosbie Bros and Mason & Raynor, plus HE Melhop in Invercargill and Dunedin followed and the name changed to Commercial Vehicle Centre Ltd.
Other purchases were made and in 1996 Log Marketing NZ was successfully established.

Under his leadership he’s seen the business go from a 33 truck fleet in 1980 to a 125 truck fleet in 2015.

He has contributed as President of Region 5 of the Road Transport Association, the President of Southland branch and as Road Transport Association Conference Chairman.

Mervyn Solly – Collingwood, Nelson

At the age of 15 Mervyn became a driver for his father’s business. At the age of 23 he became the manager.
In the 1980s he began growing the business. He began Sea Tow Ltd and more purchases followed including TNL Group Ltd’s Golden Bay rural operation in Takaka. Today the business has spread throughout New Zealand. He took a small local five truck business to a 100 truck national business, while keeping the local focus the company began with.
He is a member of the Road Transport Association and the Contractors Federation.

Don Wright – Northland/Auckland

Mate Franicevich helped Don get an apprenticeship as a mechanic at International Harvester Co. in Auckland at just 15 years old.
He then took an opportunity as a Kenworth dealer for Dalhoff and King before moving on and selling Komatsu machines and Nissan trucks in Auckland.
In 1973 he bought a Commer TS3 with a friend and used it to cart phosphate. In 1974 he sold the Commer and bought a Valiant ute, contracting to NZ Steel. When they changed their transport methods, he saw it as an opportunity and overcame adversity to become the biggest Scania dealer of the day. That was the beginning of his business Trucks & Trailers Ltd, which now employs over 90 staff over three branches. When Cable Price dropped Mercedes Benz, Trucks & Trailers Ltd became Mercedes Benz dealers.
He remains today as director of Trucks and Trailers Ltd and Heavy Trucks Ltd.

Derek Dumbar – Southland/Otago/Bay Of Plenty

Originally from Invercargill Derek joined Europa Oil (NZ) in Dunedin as marketing officer after attending the University of Otago.

In 1976 he became office manager and operations manager for Taieri Carrying Company in Mosgiel. When the company purchased Maramara Products Limited he moved to Tauranga as general manager, a position he still holds today.
He has led a number of iniatives and held many positions over the years
He is a life member of both the No 2 Region Road Transport Association and the Road Transport Forum NZ.
BERT WATCHORN – Taranaki/Waikato
At the age of 17, Bert started driving a GMC logger for his older brother, hauling logs.
After time in Australia he and his family arrived back in NZ, settling near Paeroa where he got a job with a transport operator named Gilbert Sarjant.
In 1953, he bought a small rundown transport company just out of Te Puke and in 1963 he and 5 other operators formed Te Puke Transport. He eventually took over the total shareholding of Te Puke Transport and about 5 years later sold the Te Puke end of that company.
In the early 1980s he bought 2 logging trucks with contracts, this was to change his direction again. The stock cartage was sold on and the logging side of the business grew with still a fair amount of general freight until he sold the business.
The Road Transport Association NZ, has recently honoured this inductee after 63 years, with a Life Membership.
The latest inductees join the inaugural inductees from 2012, Bill Richardson, Sir Robert Owens, Jim Barker, John Emmerson, Lachie Griffen, Neil Clarke, Ron Carpenter and Tony Friedlander plus the 2013, 2014 and 2015 inductees - George Wallis, Jim Ramsay, Sir Russell Pettigrew, Bert Godfrey, George Tyler, Cyril Mahon, Les MacKenzie, John Anderson, Mike Lambert, Melven (Rowdy) Aitken, Les Cleveland and Bernie MacDonald, Bob Burnett, Dave Potter, Neil Reid and Ralph Munn.
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, VTNZ, Mack Trucks, Volvo, Renault, Truck Stops, Gough Group - Gough TWL and Gough Transpecs, Mobil Oil NZ, Coretex, VTNZ, Bandag, EECA, Wynn Williams Lawyers NZI, Lumley and Transport & General Engineers (Transport Trailers).
Full biographies are attached and images can be obtained by visiting

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