This is the speech introducing Graham’s contribution to the Road Transport industry at the 2020 Hall of Fame function.
Our next inductee was born in 1954, in the small seaside village of Great Yarmouth, in Norfolk, England. At the age of 2, he emigrated with his family to NZ on board the SS Captain Hobson ex Glasgow, Scotland.
The family first settled in Patea and eventually ended up in Tokoroa where this inductee attended Tokoroa High School. It is said this inductee had beautiful blonde hair and was well tanned but a very tiny boy. His nickname was Peewee. Alas, he lost those golden locks and by the age of 21 he had gone bald.
Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to announce our second inductee of the evening, Graham Sheldrake.
After high school Graham joined his father at NZ Forest Products Kinleith qualifying as a diesel mechanic.
At the age of 20 he embarked on an O/E with his sister and brother-in-law, taking a camper van around Europe for 18 months. On returning to New Zealand, he learned how to move furniture for Parks Furniture Removal in a 5 speed TK Bedford and that’s where he met his wife Jillian and they were married in 1978.
Trucks were starting to become important in Graham’s life and he secured a contract with Forest Products and purchased his first truck, a Kenworth SAR with a hiab crane to self-load logs. He called the truck Mork and the crane Mindy.
In 1984, he replaced that truck and purchased a Kenworth 924 completing off-highway logging. In 1986, he purchased a Scammell carting peeler logs from Kinleith to Henderson & Pollard, Mount Eden.
In 1986, NZ Forest Products contracted all log cartage to Graeme enabling him to expand his fleet. The formation of the Log Haulage Contractors Association came as a result of Forest Products’ encouragement for operators to band together to get lower fuel prices and have one voice. Graham has been the driving force behind this organisation since its formation.
In 2004, Graham was invited to join Dynes Holdings Ltd, Rotorua Forest Haulage Ltd and Nasser Honeycombe to form Timber Logistics Ltd to cart Red Stag Timber.
In 1994, G J Sheldrake Ltd joined the No 2 Region NZRTA. Graham completed a term as President prior to becoming the Owner Driver Director on the RTF Board from 1998 to 2005. During that time, he was also a Director representing the RTF on the Transport and Logistics Industry Training Organisation.
From 2005 to 2009 Graeme was Vice President of the New Zealand Road Transport Association Region 2, Acting President in 2009 and the President until 2012. He was the President of NZRTA Ltd until it was restructured in 2010 and became the founding President of RTANZ Inc. He has also been a member of the Log Truck Safety Council since its formation in 1997 and has represented the RTF Board for numerous years on the Council. It should be recognised that Graham could not have done all of this without the support of his wife Jillian.
Graham first and foremost is a family man; he and Jillian have a daughter and a son, Emma and Mathew and five grandchildren, Owen, Noah, Luca, Dione and Carter. His son, Mathew, has taken over the business after spending many years under the guidance of Graham in preparation for this.Graham loves spending time with family and it is fair to say he is extremely proud of them all.
Fishing is the other pastime that Graham enjoys. He gets out on his boat on Lake Taupo and once a year Graham and a few of his mates go to Lake Waikaremoana for a weeks’ fishing at the end of the winter.
Graham has been inspirational in his commitment to industry organisations. He has been a part of a very successful Region 2 Executive that has the reputation for tackling many of the difficult issues that the industry throws up from time to time. His organisational skills are second to none and the industry has used these skills to help make our industry better for everyone.