To the left: The late Dave Bennett contracted this stunning Mack Super Liner to Tranzealand out of Christchurch.
To the right: 8×4 tractor units were rare back in the mid-1980s. This Christchurch-based F12 Volvo did heavy haulage work for New Zealand Express.

Dean Middleton is a superb example of where a love of trucks can take you – and the different places truck-mad kids end up. If you‘re in the Garden City, at a truck show, or even just somewhere on the South Island roadside, the friendly guy taking truck photos you‘re chatting to might just be Dean Middleton, general manager of Christchurch‘s slick Charter Transport. Oh, and there‘s every chance his son, Benny, will be right there with him.

Dean has made a wonderful career around the machines he loves, not just in senior management but as an accomplished freelancer to multiple publications.

So, how did it all begin for you, Dean?

“I vividly remember how I got hit with the truck bug. It was the late 1970s. I was about six years old and was at a Canterbury A&P Show. There were full-size gloss posters for sale of a local March Construction W-Model Kenworth for five bucks, and I just knew I had to have one.

“Within weeks of putting the new poster on the bedroom wall, a new series called BJ and the Bear came on the TV and, from that first episode, my passion for trucks was completely ignited.

“I started getting into taking photos when I was about 12 during the mid-1980s. The only challenge was that I lived on the east side of Christchurch and most of the transport yards were across the other side of town. During the weekends and school holidays, I would throw my 35mm Pentax film camera in my backpack and do a circuit that would cover more than 50km and take most of the day.

That was on a pretty basic 10-speed push bike, not a flash soft-tail mountain bike kids ride these days. Needless to say, the backend was more than a little sore at the end of those days, but by crikey, it was worth it when I picked up my developed truck photos from the local chemist a few days later!

“Here are a few favourites from those epic bike-riding days.”

Left: The March Construction Kenworth, the poster truck that ignited the passion. This image was taken several years later.
Middle: “This was one of those wow moments where I dropped the bike and stood in awe of the first new K100E Kenworth I had ever seen up close, and with such an Iconic carrier, Regan Carriers.”
Right: A classic looking F-Model Mack from Alexandra Transport loading up in Hornby in 1984.