Mark ‘Tricky’ Johnson

In July 2023, Just Truckn Around2 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineAugust 30, 2023

The golden beauty that is The Prospector caught Alison Verran’s eye while driving past BP Tauriko. A quick spin around the roundabout, and she pulled in for a chat with Mark ‘Tricky’ Johnson, currently piloting the Kenworth T409 SAR with X-15 power for John Lockley, Waihi.

Mark carts general freight southbound to Palmerston North or Wellington, often with backloads of timber. On this day, he had just made a delivery to Tauriko en route to Auckland to load for another trip south. While chatting, Mark lets it slip that he is only on the T409 for a few weeks until John’s new Kenworth W900 SAR Legend arrives in the fleet. “It’s my first new truck in 30 years, and I’m pretty excited,” he says.

Mark’s interest in the trucking industry started as a kid when he would ride in his uncle’s logger. “I would go with him on weekends, school holidays – any chance I could,” says Mark. This led to his current 30-year career of “getting paid to see the country”.

It’s clear when speaking with Mark that trucking is his life, and he undoubtedly relishes every moment. “I’ve seen most of New Zealand, north and south. It’s a hobby as well as a job, a whole culture. Some of us don’t see it as a job; it’s a passion. I love going to work because of that passion.”

Mark’s disappointment in the industry is with traditional trucking versus how the industry is advancing. “The old culture is slipping away. There are still a lot of us old-school guys out there, but it’s getting less. We’re the sort that get a buzz out of the kids doing an arm pump for a toot! A lot of us grew up knowing that truck driving was all we wanted to do.”

Alison presented Mark with the vexing question, ‘Ford or Holden?’ “Holden. That’s an easy one because I drive a Colorado.”

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