The Phantom Eagle (Te Mareko Poakai)

4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJune 30, 2017

Photo: Looking as sharp today as she ever has. Under Murihiku Haulage‘s ownership and following a makeover the 9800 Eagle‘s future looks as bright as ever.

In 2006 Harry “Hammer” Toka purchased this 9800 International 8×4 and set the unit up as a drop-side tipper with a seven metre truck deck and a nine metre trailer deck with a 7.5m split tip.

The trailer and tipping gear for the whole unit was fabricated by Dometts in Mount Maunganui, with the truck and trailer both having twin under body hoists, and the air suspended trailer additional stabilising arms, and disc brakes.

Hammer was contracted to United Carriers in Whangarei as an owner operator carting general freight all over the North Island. Having previously worked for United subsidiary Kaitaia Transport, Hammer ordered the whole unit to be built and painted in Kaitaia‘s colours.
When he took possession of the International, Hammer had a blessing performed by his Uncle Tom Kopeke, a local Kaumatua. ‘Te Mareko Poakai‘ was the name given to the truck or ‘The Phantom Eagle‘ in English.

Hammer‘s main trip was Kaitaia to Gisborne taking veneer from Junken Nissho (JNL) and he would usually back load hominy (crushed corn) to Poultrymen‘s Co-op Ltd in Auckland, then freight out of Auckland for the trip north. In 2009 the truck was sold to Ian “Bones” Mowatt from Davlyn Cartage in Ashburton with around 280-290,000 kms on the clock. With a change of signage Bones put the three
year old International to work in the South Island, working in with local company Dolan Transport carting, amongst other things, machinery, wool and timber for 4D Freight along with Davlyn Cartage‘s own grain and straw work.

After owning the International 9800 for more than four years, Davlyn Cartage sold the truck to its current owner Murihiku Haulage Limited in Gore, who have given it quite the makeover.

The truck has gone from an under body to a front of body tipper with lift out sides for bulk work and a stock crate, both pin saddled at the front.

Photo: BELOW LEFT: Harry ‘Hammer‘ Toka was the original owner of the truck. He held onto it for almost 300,000km working it between Kaitaia and Gisborne. BELOW RIGHT: The truck‘s second owner was Davlyn Cartage in the South Island who had the big International from 2009 for over four years.

It also has 90 cube bins that cart scrap metal, palm kernel, wood chip, and sawdust etc. The International is a real standout these days with new paintwork from Beatties in Gore and the MHT signage done by Cliff at Truck Signs in Mount Maunganui. The effort put into the makeover was rewarded with the truck winning “Best Paint” at this year‘s Gore Truck Show.

New extras have also been added to the 9800 that include an alloy bumper, drop visor, west coast mirrors and air intakes.

The 575 horsepower Cummins engine sounds the part as well with a custom Australian import muffler that was hand built in Victoria.

The ‘Phantom Eagle‘ has been a strong, reliable truck for all three owners and after nine years is looking every bit as good as it did when it first hit our roads back in 2006.