Jordan Te Paa and Heidi Stone

In Just Truckn Around, February 20224 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineMarch 4, 2022

Alison and Mike Verran were heading north on SH1, when they spotted Jordan Te Paa in his Kenworth T909 on the road at Utiku. Heidi Stone was leading in her pilot vehicle. They all caught up for a chat at the Caltex Truck Stop in Waiouru.

Jordan and Heidi work for Hawke’s Bay Heavy Haulage Ltd (HBHH), Napier. They had picked up their impressive load in Wellington and were staying the night in Turangi before heading to Morrinsville the next day. Their next load would be collected from Hamilton to head off to the South Island.

Jordan’s Kenworth, powered by a 458kW (615hp) X-15 Cummins engine, is only a few months old. It’s spec’d with a 22-series 18-speed Eaton manual gearbox and is rated at 130 tonnes.

Jordan’s work is mainly in the bush. However, he likes to get out on the highway whenever he can. He carts a lot of earthworks machinery and forestry gear.

“My grandfather drove trucks his whole working life. I rode with him from 18 months old. He now comes in the truck with me, and he loves it! A lot of things have changed since he was driving.”

The aspect of driving Jordan enjoys most is meeting new people, many of whom become lifelong friends. “You can be invited around for a shower and a barbeque, then not see them again for months but, nevertheless, a strong friendship remains.”

One thing Jordan considers an issue in the industry is the inexperience of drivers coming on the road. “There’s a distinct lack of experience and knowledge, but it’s pretty hard to get that experience. It’s a real grey area. With our company, we can take young ones with us, which is great for them to learn the industry. I take my 17-year-old cousin with me, and he’s learning as he goes. He’ll be in the industry as soon as he can. Our boss is great, allowing us to have families around.”

Jordan was asked the age-old question, “Ford or Holden?” Without hesitation, the answer was “Holden… Done!”

Heidi Stone was leading Jordan on SH1 in her Isuzu D-Max pilot vehicle. She was also working alongside another pilot vehicle, driven by Jordan’s brother-in-law Shaun Emmerson.

Heidi has been piloting for just over five years.

“I worked in the office at my previous job and needed a pilot’s licence because I was often asked to jump in and help out. It got to a point where I was on the road more and more, which suited me well. In this job, I’m driving full time. I love it. I just love being in the industry and getting out there on the road. I pretty much cover the whole of New Zealand.”

It’s frustrating for Heidi that most road users lack knowledge of how pilot vehicles operate.

“Not everyone stops when asked. It’s dangerous, not only for us but for them and other traffic. There definitely needs to be more education around this.”

At the end of the chat, Heidi chose vexing question No.66: White bread or brown bread? “Brown bread – if I have bread.”

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