2018 Mobil Delvac 1 – NZ Road Transport Hall of Fame – INDUCTEES

22 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineNovember 5, 2018

The seventh annual Mobil Delvac 1 NZ Road Transport Hall of Fame was held at Bill Richardson Transport World in Invercargill on Friday 28 September.

More than 500 guests travelled from all over the country to celebrate the trucking industry and see five new inductees welcomed into the NZ Road Transport Hall of Fame at the prestigious, black-tie gala event. HWR group director and NZ Road Transport Hall of Fame founder Scott O‘Donnell believes it‘s important to recognise the “game changers” in New Zealand‘s transport industry. “The inductees this year join 30 others in the Hall of Fame who have all made their mark on the transport industry. These people have made a lasting impact and help set a standard that the industry should be proud of,” he said.

Dave Malanaphy
David Malanaphy was educated at Taihape District High School and began his long involvement with the transport industry driving for a local carrier there. In 1967 Dave and his brother Neil started Kimbolton Transport in rural Manawatu, which reached its limited potential within three years. Seeking greater challenges saw the brothers sell the Kimbolton business and purchase Thames-based freight company Parker Wilson Transport, which was geographically well placed for growth, being close to Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga. They changed the company name to Thames Freightlines. Several small acquisitions followed. Thames Freightlines grew rapidly and successfully, diversifying into cartage of wood products and CKD components for the Thames Toyota car factory.

Photo: Scott O‘Donnell and Dave Malanaphy.

In 1979 in a move to further develop its wood products activity, troubled Nationwide Transport (in receivership) was purchased. Despite much effort, Nationwide was not fixable and the Thames parent company itself suffered for quite some time in receivership. The company did survive, however, and went on to become a major player in the transport arena. In 1985 Neil sold his interests to Dave and Peter Coote and retired in Australia. The brothers remain close to this day. After recovering from the Nationwide setback some significant acquisitions followed including Verran Brothers in Thames (1984), Fletcher Transport in Patumahoe (1986), Provincial Heatons Transport (1992), R&L Main Transport in Thames (2003), and Total Transport in Taupo (2004). The company‘s name was again changed with the purchase of the Provincial Heatons business, the new name being Provincial Freightlines Limited. The rebadged business expanded into log cartage, bulk fuel cartage for Shell NZ (North Island) and fast moving consumer goods. The latter included customers such as Griffins Foods, Lion Breweries, CHH Tissue, etc.

Dave always said the people were the company‘s best asset. He also believed in cooperative relationships with other friendly operators, some examples being Five Star Freight Group, an Auckland-based metro pickup and delivery company co-owned by Provincial, United Carriers, Hooker Bros, TNL and Roadfreighters, and a joint venture with Total Transport to manage all North Island road transported timber for CHH Timber Limited. Provincial purchased Total when Matt Purvis retired. There was also a joint venture with NZL Group to then manage all timber and pulp and paper products for CHH, and a joint venture with Trevor Master‘s Log Haulage to manage and transport all of Ernslaw One‘s logs out of the Coromandel Peninsula.

A joint venture with Tulloch Transport for warehousing and distribution of Iplex Pipelines saw Tullochs doing the South Island and Provincial the North. In 2007 Dave was diagnosed as having a condition with an unsure prognosis. The family decided to exit the business, selling to a keen suitor, Lindsay Fox. As it happens Dave has survived that condition to date. He was a chartered member of the Institute of Logistics and Transport prior to his retirement and now owns a forklift importing company.

Comer Board
Comer Board was born in Huntly in 1955 to a farming family, but a long obsession with trucks would pave a way for a future career in the industry. After completing school, Comer spent his early career operating trucks and machinery in Australia‘s open cast mines. Upon his return to New Zealand he became an owner/operator with Trailways. After time spent selling trailers and trailer components with Fruehauf and Road Haul, there was a move into selling North American trucks. Comer and his wife, Robyn, formed their first company in the mid-90s, Central Pacific International. Based at Mount Maunganui, they became a local International dealer under IVECO Australia. It wasn‘t long before Comer realised the New Zealand client base wanted different options and lighter tare weights. Driven by customer demand, in 1997 Central Pacific International secured the importer, distribution and dealer agreement for International Trucks and Parts from Navistar. To differentiate from the Australian assembled product, the company rebranded, becoming Intertruck Distributors NZ Ltd.

Photo: Scott O‘Donnell and Comer Board.

In close collaboration with Navistar, Intertruck commenced a pilot test programme to assemble International Trucks for the New Zealand market. In the same year, they established an R&D division designing and manufacturing tailored trucks for the local market. In 2006 Comer invested in a 35,000-square foot, purposebuilt truck assembly plant to manufacture and assemble custom-built trucks in line with our complex transport legislation. Notable achievements include the design and build of New Zealand‘s first twin steer conventional, and designing and installing Euro 4 (followed by Euro 5) emission standards in the 9800 series truck.
Quickly reacting to VDAM axle group changes, in 2015 Comer steered his team in redesigning the 9800 to the new 9870, becoming a set-forward axle model. Further cementing Intertruck‘s reputation as a proven leader in the International Trucks network, they were awarded distribution rights of the Lonestar model. In 2017 Intertruck secured the rights as the first global distributer outside of North America to build the ProStar. Further expansion and growth continue for the company, having established a network of 24 dealer and service providers throughout the country. With his wife Robyn working alongside him, the company has grown and continues to grow from its humble beginnings in 1995.

Calven Bonney
Calven Bonney was born in 1951 to a family with a history in transport dating back to the 1920s. His father, Alven, was a mechanic and truck driver who met his future wife, Dell, while collecting milk from her family farm in the late 1940s. Their life revolved around the family business L.W. Bonney & Sons Ltd, located in Papatoetoe directly behind the family home. The depot housed a fleet of Commers, Leylands and then Mercedes-Benz that peaked at 26 tip trucks in the 1950s. Calven had a variety of after school jobs and spent every spare moment he could in a truck or in the workshop.
Postwar there was a strong emphasis on building Auckland‘s infrastructure, and Bonney‘s carted sand, coal and aggregate. After leaving school in 1970, Calven joined Mayo & Sons, serving his time as a fitter and turner. It was here he was introduced to motor racing by Merv Mayo, who was friends with the likes of Bruce McLaren, Jack Brabham and Denny Hulme. Calven went on to crew for all of them and drove an early sprint car at Western Springs.
After three years he left to do a three-month International Vintage Car Rally around the South Island. When he got home it was into a Bonney‘s TK Bedford before being promoted to a Mercedes-Benz semi and trailer carting sand and coal.

Photo: Scott O‘Donnell and Calven Bonney.

In 1973 he met the woman he would later marry, nurse Ann Rambaud. Calven formed CD Bonney Ltd that year, purchasing a 1952 4-cylinder 2-stroke Foden to cart phosphate off the Ports of Auckland, replacing it the same year with a 1966 Mercedes-Benz 1418.
In partnership with the family business he won the contract to cart for Bycroft‘s and Champion. By 1974 his fleet had expanded to three with the addition of a second 1418 Merc and a K Series Ford. That same year he was elected to the board of the National Road Carriers, and remains on it today. Altranz acquired CD Bonney and LW Bonney & Sons‘ flour fleets in 1980, and in 1984, Calven bought the family business from his father and uncle. They had three trucks based in East Tamaki carting bulk product, and he added the International Paystar to the fleet, which in later years became one of New Zealand‘s first race trucks.
Bonney‘s were the first to put flour into tankers in 1964 and then sugar into pneumatic tankers in the 1980s, and they continued their innovation under Calven‘s stewardship. A run of acquisitions saw the fleet grow to around 120 trucks with depots in Auckland, Waikato and Blenheim. Today the company provides specialised bulk transport services with a fleet of immaculate high profile trucks.
Calven has served as a director and president of the NRC, and as a director and chair of the Road Transport Forum, being recognised by both with life membership. This year he was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to transport and motorsport. Through his association with motorsport, as a driver and also instigator of truck racing here with Trevor Woolston, he has provided transport and support for many events.

Ralph Maxwell
Ralph Maxwell‘s father operated a horse and dray in Dunedin in the early 1920s, so he had an early introduction to the industry. In the 1930s his father established the Dunedin- Roxburgh freight service until the Labour victory in the 1935 elections saw long distance transport licences revoked in favour of rail and the subsequent demise of many businesses. After a short stint working for the Railways, Ralph went to work for Harry Hames, where his brother Wib already worked. With a loan from their uncle and Ralph‘s war gratuity, they purchased Harry‘s business and started Maxwell Bros in 1946 with two Fords. These trucks carried three cubic yards of metal, but soon after, with typical ingenuity, they added hungry boards to allow four cubic yards to be carried. Subsequently the purchase of better tyres allowed five cubic yards to be the norm.

The business grew from the two men‘s hard work and honesty, and even without advertising they became busier and busier to the point where they decided to involve their two other brothers, Jock and Doug, and brother-in-law Noel Tamblyn. It was a harmonious business venture and their ability and reputation gained many new customers. Some of those early relationships continued after 50 years of business. Jim Palmer (Palmers Concrete, Palmer & Sons – quarry) and Fulton Hogan were major clients in the early days and that continued. Later, Sheils Concrete, Humes Pipes, and Ravensdown Fertiliser became major clients. The business grew, and Fulton Hogan, realising the amount of work the brothers were doing for them, moved to become partners. In 1955 an agreement was reached and the family took a shareholding in Fulton Hogan and integrated their business. Some 18 trucks were involved at that time. This new direction saw all except Ralph move to different roles, and he stayed on as manager up until his retirement.

Photo: Left to right: Scott O‘Donnell with Ralph Maxwell‘s son Graeme, grandson Todd, son Keith and grandson Cameron.

The 1970s saw the workload booming. Combined with Fulton Hogan‘s roading requirement and chip cartage for sealing, Palmers required more resources due to the development of the Port Chalmers container port. Maxwells regularly had six single drive artics with rock bodies plying the route from the quarry to the port, five to six days a week. With hard work and a ‘never say die attitude‘, Ralph grew the business in the late 50s, 60s and early 70s to include acquisitions and diversification like firewood harvesting and delivery, livestock cartage, working on the Twizel power project, plus a foray into logging and demolition contracting. A major diversification came in the late 60s when Ralph, along with company accountant Russell Pellowe, identified rubbish as being a source to grow the income. A skip service was started that rapidly expanded, and Ralph was personally involved in selling the bin concept to Dunedin. He became extremely passionate about this area of the business and obtained literature and information on rubbish disposal from around the world. Ralph‘s intention to ship a compactor from the USA, which would have been a New Zealand first, failed to eventuate as the local council wouldn‘t commit to using it. Not to be outdone, in 1979 the company set up New Zealand‘s first waste transfer station in Dunedin. With steady growth over the the years, by the time Ralph retired in 1983 the fleet numbered more than 50, making it one of the largest, if not the largest, in Dunedin. The purchases in 1984 of Taieri Carrying Ltd and J.C. Mowat & Sons increased this total.
Ralph was an extremely approachable person who could talk to anyone and he was regarded very highly by his staff. At a recent reunion the common comment was he was ‘the best boss I ever worked for‘. Ralph was usually referred to by the staff as ‘Uncle‘ and would do anything he could to improve the job for his staff, assisting wherever possible in their private lives to solve issues. He was a dedicated transport operator who was well respected by other operators and he was fully involved in the Otago branch of the Road Transport Association, rarely missing a meeting. When the RTA, in conjunction with Otago Polytechnic, set up a cadet scheme to encourage drivers into the industry, Ralph jumped in boots and all and spent time every week at the polytech as a volunteer tutor – a real testament to his character. Ralph‘s family collected his award on his behalf.

John Brady
Born in Lawrence in 1937, John Brady grew up in Roxburgh. His early working days were spent as an apprentice painter and paperhanger in Roxburgh and helping out on the family orchard before commencing his driving career. In 1959 he moved to Mossburn to drive for Mossburn Transport, which at the time was owned by Cliff and Marj Bennetts. The company later merged with other local companies and formed the present-day Northern Southland Transport Holdings Limited (NSTH).

Photo: Scott O‘Donnell and John Brady.

The company continued to grow and was joined by other companies in the late 1960s. In 1969, John transferred to the office in Mossburn, where he was promoted to the role of branch manager in 1972, then appointed a director in 1981. He was responsible for the control of rural cartage from then until his semi-retirement.
John and his wife, Irene, moved to Queenstown in 1999 where John helped set up transfer stations in the region and the subsequent waste collection in Central Otago. Before retiring in 2009, he was responsible for purchasing new vehicles for NSTH. He became involved in the Southland Road Transport Association in 1980, and was a national councillor from 1984 to 88 and branch president from 1988 to 90. John remained on the executive committee until 1996, also becoming involved with the association‘s restructuring to become NZRTA Region 5. He was made a life member of the association in 1999 and was involved in organising RTA conferences in the region.

The event was made possible through sponsors Allied Lubricants – Mobil Delvac 1, VTNZ, Mack Trucks, Volvo, TruckStops, Gough Group – Gough TWL and Gough Transpecs, Mobil Oil NZ, Coretex, VTNZ, Wynn Williams Lawyers, NZI Lumley, and Transport & General Engineers (Transport Trailers).