Josh Hart’s message gets international attention

In News3 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineAugust 26, 2022

Winner of the 2020-2021 New Zealand Trucking John Murphy Memorial Top Truck competition, Josh Hart, has gained international recognition for his anti-bullying messages.

As the winner of last year’s competition, Josh received a kit of eight retreaded Vipal Rubber tyres for his eye-catching pink Western Star which he drives for family company Hart Haulage, based in Auckland and Hamilton.

The tyres received as a prize were produced and delivered by Power Retreads, Vipal’s partner in New Zealand.

For Dijan Rigo, commercial coordinator of Vipal in Oceania, Josh’s story is really inspiring. “We were very happy when we learned about Josh’s story and that he was chosen as the winner of the Top Truck. Much deservedly, Josh now has a retreaded tyre kit with the quality of Vipal Rubber treads to continue spreading a message of hope and positivity on the country’s roads.”

Josh had a trajectory of difficult experiences when he was younger, with a traumatic history of having been bullied and many difficulties during his school years. It was at the age of 16 that he found his way into the truck cab, diving headlong into the family business. He started driving in rural areas and, at the age of 18, and went for class 4 and 5 licenses to become a professional driver.

“Trucks and the transportation saved my life. I laugh now when I think of some of the comments from some of my teachers at school, telling me that there is no money in looking out the window,” Josh said. “And here I am now earning more than them, looking out the window.”

Josh used his example trajectory to try to help other people who suffer from the same problem he went through. His truck needed a refurbishment, and that’s when the idea of painting it pink and stamping help messages on its sides came up. The inspiration for painting the Western Star came when Josh met the anti-bullying movement of the pink T-shirt, initiated in 2007 by two high school students in Nova Scotia. After receiving the new colour and the messages ‘Spread kindness, bullying stops here’ on the truck’s sides, the impact was immediate. People started calling, wanting to know where to get help, sharing stories bullying, and a movement to offer support to people with the same type of personal experience.

“Our partnership with Power Retreads is very solid in New Zealand, and we can only thank the company and carriers for their trust in our products,” Rigo concluded.

Voting is currently open for the 2021-2022 New Zealand Trucking John Murphy Memorial Top Truck competition. Click here to vote for your favourite contender. Voting closes on 18 September.