Jason Birch

In August 2023, Just Truckn Around2 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineSeptember 19, 2023

Alison Verran stopped for a chat with Jason Birch, when she saw his smart Western Star 4864FXC parked at the BP Truck Stop at Taupiri. Jason is the owner/ operator of Aurora Transport but was driving the Western Star for MOVE Freight while the usual driver was off sick.

Jason explains: “At Aurora, we’ve got two trucks that do chilled work and also have a flat deck unit. I also contract drive for other companies. This unit today is general freight, but for two months of the year, it carts beehives. It’s refrigerated and temperature controlled for the bees.”

Jason was brought up in the trucking industry. “My old man is a truck driver. When I was a kid, I rode with him a lot in the truck. It was the only way I got to spend time with Dad! I got my licence in Aussie when I was 19, then got my road- train licence when I was 20. I drove a lot up in the Northern Territory and have been driving now for 12 years, with the last five back here in New Zealand.”

Jason was heading to Auckland for a load to take to New Plymouth. It was clear while speaking with Jason that trucking is his passion. “What do I like about trucking? Literally the freedom! I listen to music while I get paid to see the countryside. I go to places that most people don’t ever see.”

“What don’t I like? Haha! Car drivers!” Jason also sees a major issue with the industry’s future. “Getting skilful drivers is a problem. The industry isn’t seen as a viable career and kids at school don’t get told that truck driving is a career.”

The vexing question of pancakes or waffles was met with a definite answer. “Pancakes! I’ve always been a pancake person… with butter, plum jam and cream. Mum used to make pikelets, but they were too small to feed us kids, so she increased the size to pancakes!”

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