Southpac Trucks’ KW100 event was more than just a Kiwi-as celebration of the Kenworth brand’s centenary in 2023. It will go down in the hearts of local – and quite a few international – trucking enthusiasts as a day to never forget.

Hamilton’s Mystery Creek Events Centre has been host to its fair share of significant gatherings, but for fans of the Kenworth brand, the event on Saturday, 3 February 2024, would have to be among the finest.

Brand devotees still talk about the 50 Years of Kenworth in New Zealand event at Bay Park in 2014. That event attracted 301 trucks, a significant number. But 100 Years of Kenworth – or KW100 as it quickly became known – was always going to be a big one. It was, quite literally, a once-in-100-year event – and how many brands get to celebrate that milestone?

Recognising this, more than 900 enthusiastic Kenworth owners and drivers registered for KW100, with 756 trucks turning out on the day. They wanted to be there and be a part of the celebration; that much was plainly obvious by the mere fact some of the trucks were taken out of service for three days – with the Thursday and Friday earmarked for arrivals and setup.

There was just about everything from the Kenworth New Zealand catalogue, starting with the two original 848s to land in New Zealand in 1964 for New Zealand Forest Products. Other ‘firsts’ included the country’s first Kenworth cabover, a 1966 K923 [yes – 923 is correct], originally owned by JV Geany’s from Rotorua, today owned and in restoration by Craig Gordon. Also, there was the FJ Ramsey 1978 K124, Snoopy, today owned by Greaves Bulk Haulage in Gisborne. FJ Ramsey trucks were, of course, famous for towing the country’s first B-trains, one of which was on Snoopy. What an amazing sight that made. The ‘firsts’ rolled on in and included the 1965 L-924 ‘Steptoe’ the first truck sold to a small private – Howard Brothers in the Hawkes Bay, and the first SAR, sold to R H Tregoweths in Te Kuiti and today owned by the Uhlenberg family in Eltham.

There were other icons of New Zealand road transport, such as the Lendich Construction 1975 W924R, the Kenworth LW924R V12 Concorde, purchased new by Mt Maunganui-based Mike Lambert Ltd in 1973, and looking ever more original by the day in the care of current owner Mercer Transport Museum. And when you’re talking legendary New Zealand road transport machines – Shane Pearson’s restored Katway Haulage K124 Aerodyne Barney Boy is right up there.

There were Kenworth fleets from throughout the country, working trucks, hobby trucks, restored trucks and trucks that proudly wear the decades of hard toil they were bought to tackle.

Trucks were being cleaned and polished up to the public opening at 10am on the Saturday, the level of pride in their spectacular presentation noteworthy. That said, special mention must go to Bourke Haulage’s K200 logger, which looked like it drove straight off the skid and into the events centre – a reminder of their reason for being.

The day had a celebratory atmosphere, filled with history, pride, passion and a sense of inspiration, culminating in the gala dinner event in the Mystery Creek Events Centre. Amid 24 gleaming trucks, 800 attendees were fed and entertained to the highest level. The mood of celebration was brilliantly carried over by PACCAR Australia managing director Damion Smethurst and Southpac CEO Maarten Durent, who both gave brief but poignant addresses, before dancing, merriment and the sharing of great yarns of life behind a Bug commenced.

We hope the few images here from the thousands we came home with somehow convey it all.

Congratulations, Southpac, on a superbly organised and executed event, and happy birthday, Kenworth.


Southpac invited two overseas PACCAR employees to join with the local Commercial Vehicle Safety Team to form the judging panel for KW100. Aaron Kitahara (USA), Phil Spencer (Australia), Constable Andrew Ansell and Senior Sergeant Lex Soepnel made their way through the thousands of visitors on the Saturday to come up with a list of prize-winning trucks. A further two prize winners were added at the request of the overseas judges: The Overseas Judges’ Show Favourites.





Scan to see the table of winners

Special Thanks

The team at New Zealand Trucking Media would like to thank Southpac Trucks for the extended access we and the selected group of photographers were granted to the event.