PARABLE LANDS

In July 2021, Short Story July 20213 MinutesBy Dave McCoidAugust 29, 2021

Do you know the old fields of diamonds parable? The one that says you don’t have to go looking for ‘diamond’ mines, everything you’ll ever need is under your feet, and it’s you that makes the difference. If you ever wished for a real-life example, look no further than Marsh Contracting in Pongakawa. There is a dozen other ‘chestnuts’ you could hang on them too, aligned to the themes of Kiwi ingenuity, give it a go, all that stuff.

In the two days we spent with Ben, the depth of endeavour behind Neville and Jill Marsh’s 40 years in business became ever more apparent. There’s the contracting and trucking business, grazing blocks, orchards, and even quarrying in the portfolio – nothing surprising there. But then there’s a couple of fascinating gems lurking in the wings, too.

Agriculture and horticulture are seasonal escapades, and options to fill the gaps must never be overlooked. The engineering workshop that services the fleet of Valtra, JCB tractors, and their implements also manufactures portable platform weighbridges under the name Neville Marsh Weighbridges. Fully portable, the platforms have found homes all over the country, anywhere there’s a need to weigh something for reasons of compliance or compensation. Talking to Ben, we find they’re well entrenched in the transport game, so next time you’re carting off a boat or on a tip job that entails crossing a portable bridge, take a look, it might be a Neville Marsh special.

The engineering bay also makes Marshn Rings. (No, not landing pads for aliens.) As an agricultural contractor, Neville knows better than anyone the constant risk to machinery a rural environment poses. It was damage to the tines on the company’s swathers – a mechanical grass rake towed behind a tractor – that spawned the Marshn Ring (the man has a sense of humour, obviously). The ring is essentially a steel band that bolts to arms attached to the core device protecting the tines from anything not wanting to be fluffed up. They fit most common brands, and Ben says they’re often fitted by many OEMs pre-sale.

You just have to love New Zealanders willing to give things a go and get shit done!

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