Full to overflowing

In Short Story September 20239 MinutesBy Gavin MyersOctober 11, 2023

As is so often the case, 52-year-old Lloyd Rutherford has a great backstory, full of adventure, challenge, and experiences rooted in a classic Kiwi ‘give it a go’ approach.

Like the good ones, he’s humble, in no way wanting to blow his own trumpet, yet happy and outgoing.

“I always wanted to have a crack at the line haul thing,” he said. “Now the girls are grown up, I can, it’s not so disruptive to the family.

“I’m loving it, travelling around and meeting people. And hey, this is not exactly hard to live in, is it?”

Born in Gore, Lloyd’s dad was the Presbyterian minister in Edendale. “I was seven when we came to Christchurch. My parents thought there was more opportunity for us in the city.”

The first big life adventure came about when newly wed to Kerri 30 years ago, the young pair set out on a working adventure around Australia.

“We took our camping kit, flew to Sydney and bought an old XC Falcon in the back streets of Kings Cross. Our plan was to travel and work, camping as we went if we had to. We worked our way to the Gold Coast, liked the look of that and thought we’d get jobs and stay there for a couple of months. Well, 10 years and two kids later, we were still there. It was a great place and a great time. Probably just as well, I’m not sure how the XC would have gone in the outback,” he said with a laugh.

Lloyd found work at an events company, working his way up to project and logistics management in the buildings and facilities side of the operation.

“Conferences and that sort of thing. Erecting temporary buildings. We did a lot with the V8s too. We had a small fleet of rigids, and would sub out the long-haul bulk stuff. The big Aussie B-trains would come in and load up, and that’s where the first sparks of interest in the trucking thing started I guess. When the opportunity arose, I’d always volunteer to take one of our own trucks to Sydney for equipment transfers and the like.”

One afternoon 20 years ago, in the oppressive heat of a Queensland afternoon, Lloyd and Kerri made the decision to come home. “Six months later we were home. I remember flying in over the Alps and feeling really settled. I was home,” he said.

Lloyd soon found work for Pegasus Engineering doing steel deliveries on a crane truck. The crane time far outweighed the driving time, and he soon looked for other options, eventually starting with Peter O’Dea at Waimak Transport. Lloyd stayed there for five years, operating a truck and trailer with a truck-mounted forklift.

From there, he moved to Canterbury Clay Bricks in Darfield for a 12-year stint on regional deliveries, again using a truck-mounted forklift, a job he knew well. “First it was a Scania R470, and that was eventually replaced with an R620 in time. It was mainly in and around the region, but you got the odd trip away to places like Takaka. That was a good job; they’re one of only two companies left in the country still making bricks, all the rest are imported.”

It was in the midst of this time that opportunity arrived and tapped on the door. Lloyd’s brother owned the Fresh Choice supermarket in Oxford, and was not getting the service he needed from his carriers. He bought a truck and set up his own transport company, running freight, food, and frozen goods from Christchurch out to Oxford and the wider Waimakariri catchment. Not wanting to be in transport necessarily, he offered the business to Lloyd and Kerri.

“Yep, we did that. The freight run in the morning and then for me, across to Darfield for brick deliveries in the middle of the day and afternoon.”

With their attitude and effort, of course Waimak Freight grew, reaching a total of three trucks, and an all-terrain forklift (that’s his thing really isn’t it?) at its peak, and employing two staff. “We had the opportunity to expand and buy a warehouse. It was a stake-in-the-ground moment. Kerri is a banker and so was a bit cautious about taking such a leap, so we decided to downsize instead.”

There’s a neat epilogue to that story too. The couple retained some of the specialist work for local shops and businesses, sourcing a three-tonne chiller truck, and setting eldest daughter Kate up in business, which she happily did for three years until just recently when she stopped to have her first child.

“Yeah, she did really well eh, and enjoyed the experience. Kerri stayed on as a director with her. She actually thought she might just put a driver on while the baby is little, but I said, ‘If the driver’s sick, then it’ll be relief driver Dad again’. No, it was time to end that chapter. Kate’s a qualified early childhood teacher anyway, so she’ll never be without work. Her younger sister Samantha is a farmer. Has been since she left school, it’s all she’s ever wanted to do. They’re chalk and cheese in many ways.”

Ten months ago, Glen Stuart was pointed in the direction of Lloyd Rutherford by a mutual connection who knew Lloyd was keen to try the line-haul scene. “The person doesn’t normally make recommendations, so Glen thought I must be all right,” said Lloyd, laughing. “The same person told me Glen was a good bloke, and I thought the same thing.

“I’m probably a better logistics man than a driver, but I’m really loving the job. He is a great down-to-earth bloke to work for, that’s for real. I honestly don’t know how he does what it does. He checks in regularly, but he and Duncan in operations leave you to work and figure things out for yourself where possible.”

Lloyd Rutherford, business man, three-time Coast to Coaster and truck driver – certainly another lesson in what it means to live life with a glass-half-full approach.


We told you it was a goody! The help we received from everyone in compiling this cover feature was staggering. Glen Stuart and family – thanks so much for the access and an amazing story. A fantastic insight into two critical industries. Lloyd Rutherford, Mark and Jarred Speirs, Jordon Moore, and Duncan McFarlane – Fenco has a bright future.

Nicole and Johnny, thanks for access to the load-out, likewise the happy crew at Gibbons Naylor in Nelson.

Deon, Alfons and Simon at Scania New Zealand, plus Allan Flavell at Roadmaster – both companies love their products and love helping tell their stories. We’re always grateful. Thank you.