Archiving NZ Trucking History Media
Born in 1954, Murray Sowerby grew up in the rural way of life. He left school at 15 and started working on the family farm outside Feilding in the Manawatu.
He soon realized that farming was not for him and started working for a local cropping farmer where he got his experience around heavy equipment driving tractors and harvesters, before moving on to get his HT license at the age of 17 carting grain, straw and livestock for the farm in a Thames Trader and TS 3 Commer.
In 1972, Murray left the cropping farm and heading into Feilding where he landed a job driving for TJ Cook Ltd, transporting livestock and general goods. His first truck was a 1966 International ACCO V8 Petrol 4X2.
It was in 1972 that Murray meet his wife-to-be, Jenni and in 1975 he took a slight deviation from trucking, as he felt he wanted to try something for himself and so they started up a local dairy in Fielding. This venture lasted 18 months during which time they were married. Murray and Jenni went on to have five beautiful kids which made for a busy household.
In 1976 the call of the road of course was strong and Murray was back behind the wheel within a year where he drove for Doughty Contractors, a bulk fertilizer cartage and spreading firm in Feilding.
During a chance meeting early 1981 with the local Mack Trucks Sales Manager, they had a discussion regarding an opening to become a Truck Salesman and soon after on March 3rd this chapter of life was to begin.
Having always been passionate about trucking but at that time wanting to have more time to spend with his young family Murray was keen to find something within the industry. The time felt right for Murray to move into truck sales and accept a role at MTD, Motor Truck Distributors in their used truck yard. Murray quickly got the buzz for building a relationship with customers, with many returning over the years to purchase subsequent trucks. This in turn landed Murray with overseeing new Mack sales for the Manawatu/Wellington regions before becoming Nationals Sales Manager for Mack Trucks.
In 1992 Murray took the role of General Manager for MTD, which included running the Mack CKD Assembly Operations in Palmerston North, a role he held until his retirement in June this year.
During this time at MTD, Murray went on to oversee the build of the first Tri-Drive Heavy Duty off highway logging truck in NZ for that market. He was responsible for the development and build of the Mack Qantum 8×4 product for NZ. He also had a big part in the development of the Mack Superliner 685hp 8×4 being the highest HP conventional highway truck available in the world and for the NZ market.
Murray’s passion and involvement in this industry has been shown through his drive and passion for the aftermarket support of the Mack and Volvo products, something he has become known for; through his support and attendance for RTA, RTF and HHA industry events and conferences;
and in 2018 was awarded an Honorary Membership of the New Zealand Heavy Haulage Association, in recognition for his long-term support.