You’ll find no more passionate truck ‘nut’ than roving Rod Simmonds. The personal archive he’s amassed from his work and leisure travels is vast, a true recorder of history as it happens.
Many haircuts ago, Rod would take the train from Featherston to Wellington and sit on the side of the road hoping five rolls of film would last the day. After which, he’d then spend a fortune getting them developed and printed. [So many of us remember that agony, and only then did you learn what came out okay – Ed.]
Here’s what Rod told us: “The phone at our Martinborough home rings. ‘David here, want to come for a ride? Pack a bag and be at the yard 6am tomorrow. You’ll need to navigate. None of us has been down south before.’
“And so the three-day trip to the Tekapo lamb fair began.
“As the crates were a tad over-height, we had to go via the Lewis Pass. It’s scenic for sure, but a pretty hard road for newbies.
“It was all pretty normal, ‘Come for a ride, meet you at the corner’, returning home 12 to 14 hours later after a run out to the coast, load up, through to Oringi, wash out, with fish 'n chips in Woodville on the way home in the dark. It was great fun for a 16-year- old. Those V8 Scanias were the coolest trucks around.
“Whatever truck David put to work looked cool to me! David Pope built up one of the country’s most impressive livestock fleets, working for Richmond Meats (now Silver Fern Farms) for over 20 years.”
Now part of the Martinborough Transport Ltd group, Wairarapa Livestock Transport continues to service the contracts today.
The three Scanias heading to Wellington, pictured on the Remutaka ranges. (left)
Peter Garrity (RIP March 2021) carefully sneaking through one of the Kaikoura tunnels. (right)