Ian Patchell awarded TTMF Life Membership

In News3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineDecember 15, 2023

Ian Patchell receives his Life Membership from TTMF council members. From left: Neil Boys, Tanker Engineering; Tony Cook, Scania New Zealand; Ian Patchell, Patchell group; Kate Bucknell, TTMF; Harry Clarke, MTE; Rob Johnson, Patchell Group; Matthew Gilles, Transfleet Trailers.

Ian Patchell has been presented with Life Membership of the New Zealand Truck-Trailer Manufacturers Federation (TTMF), in recognition of his valued contribution to the TTMF and the trailer manufacturing industry.

Ian is head of the Patchell Group, one of New Zealand’s largest heavy transport equipment manufacturer and supplier, which has been a TTMF member since 1981. Ian was the longest-serving member of the TTMF to have not yet been awarded life membership.

“I’m deeply humbled,” said Ian. “It’s been a long journey and I’ve truly enjoyed it. It’s been a great pleasure learning from and teaching my peers over the years.”

Ian with long-time friends and colleagues, Jack Topp (left) and Neil Peterken.  

In 2023, Patchell Group celebrated its 50th anniversary. Ian started small and was (and remains) old school. He had an assortment of minor jobs in and around Rotorua before becoming a boilermaker at Kinleith Mills in Tokoroa in 1969. To this day, Ian still takes pride in the skill and craft of being a boilermaker and will often describe himself as one.

In 1971 Ian returned to Rotorua and a year later started a small engineering workshop in View Road on the western edge of the city. This was the start of Patchell Industries, now Patchell Group.

Along the way, Ian has had many distinguished milestones. In 1984 the global giant Caterpillar Corporation accorded Patchell Industries OEM status – a rare honour. Ian was a founding member of the NZ Log Transport Safety Council. In 2007 he was sworn in as a JP and, in 2019, won the Westpac Rotorua Business Excellence Award. In 2020, he was introduced into the “Wall of Fame” at his old alma mater, Rotorua Boys High School.

Today, the Patchell Group is among Rotorua’s largest employers, and Ian is quick to acknowledge the hard work and skill of the team he has built. Ian is still active in the business, and he will often be seen in the company workshops.

While Ian currently has no plans for retirement, the Patchell name will live on in the form of the contribution it has made to the trailer-building industry, and through his two sons – Colin, who heads up Roadmaster, and Don, who has a senior role in the Patchell Group.

Ian was inducted into the Road Transport Hall of Fame in 2022.

Read about Ian’s journey and the history of the Patchell Group here.