A journey, an adventure

In Test Short story5 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineSeptember 17, 2018

Toko Whare greets us with a warm and sincere welcome as we climb aboard his new Kenworth T610. As Toko eases the empty unit out of the yard and on to the road you very quickly become aware of his smooth and ‘gently does it‘ approach to driving his new pride and joy. Toko, 53, started in transport on a farm near Waikaretu between Port Waikato and Raglan, and his Father Mina drove a Leyland for a local contractor working for the Raglan County Council. His passion for trucks, machinery, and driving, was instilled riding in the passenger‘s seat alongside his Dad.

Once clear of school and with a farming background, Toko worked as a shearing contractor in and around Port Waikato and Waiterimu, with truck driving playing second fiddle. It was a part-time job with a local market gardener on a 6-wheeler D Series Ford and crane that would plant the seed for change. As time went by the call of the road was too hard to ignore, and Toko made the change to professional driving. Fond memories of driving a T-line International rate up there for Toko, “I loved the cab layout and looking out the narrow windscreen,” he said. However, throwing chains over milled timber damaged Toko‘s back and slowed him up for some time. “I went to see a surgeon and he wanted to operate immediately and indicated that I would probably never walk again.” With this information Toko requested a second opinion, a very wise decision on his part. A physiotherapist administered treatment that not only rehabilitated his back, it has also helped him avoid back surgery.

After recovery Toko had a spell on bulk units in and around Auckland before moving on to logs.

“I learned a lot on this particular job with both on and off-road work,” said Toko. “You meet great guys on the road that are willing to assist and teach you the ropes, working alongside of Bom Te Huia at this time was awesome.”

An opportunity to try his hand at linehaul on refrigerated distribution work came his way, which he grabbed.

“A lot of good times running the North Island, and the manual T404 Kenworth I had was a great truck that made the job even sweeter.” Returning home one afternoon nearly seven years ago, Grant Reid made Toko an offer to come over to Waiau Pa Bulk Haulage, and drive a 400hp Isuzu for him. “The idea of being home every night was appealing so I shifted across. Now after the Isuzu, a Fuso, and a DAF I have been presented with the T610, which I was not sure of at first. However, after a couple of days it was like ‘try and take it off me‘,” laughed Toko with a cheeky smile. “All I want now is to be told by Grant to take a good max load of palm kernel to Ashburton and then backload Rakaia river shingle home to really see what the T610 can do.” Toko loves the truck, his job, and the industry.

“It never ceases to amaze me that people ask me as a truck driver for directions on the fastest way to somewhere. I tell them, and then they never listen and go their own way anyway,” he laughs. The Waiau Pa job allows him the flexibility of having the truck home every night with a pick-up point just down the road from his Maramarua home. Toko and his partner are parents to six children and 18 ‘grandies‘. He has three brothers, all drivers as well. Eruera has been on floating work at Mainfreight but is shortly on the move from there. Jason drives at Powell Transport in Pukekohe, and Howard works with him at WPBH driving a Fuso..

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