Trevor Woolston

Our first inductee of the evening was introduced to trucking early with his extended family having a lifelong involvement in the New Zealand trucking scene. He first drove a truck aged 14 and by the age of 18 was being paid for it.

However, he was steered away from trucking in his early days by his father who told him an office job was the best future. So, he went into the insurance industry and, coincidentally, met his wife who was also working in the insurance office.  But his passion for trucks was never far from his mind. After four years in the insurance office, this inductee announced to his wife-to-be that insurance was not for him and he was going off haymaking and driving trucks. 

Before I go any further, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is time now to announce our first inductee of the evening, Trevor Woolston.

In 1975, Trevor started working for Mitchell Transport based in Ohaupo in the Waikato. When the hay season finished he got another job with General Foods driving trucks around the greater Waikato district delivering frozen foods to retail outlets.

Then, in 1977, with an imminent wedding approaching, Trevor’s father Bill offered to sell him the family milk run.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

In 1982, an opportunity arose to purchase a truck, a 1974 Mack R Model from Dibble Brothers in Te Awamutu. Trevor, along with 4 others, including Barry Stamp, Alf Quaife, Derek Smith and Geoff Dibble, formed Dibble Independent Transport as a co-op.  It was during this time that Trevor was introduced to the Road Transport Association becoming a member and serving on the regional committee.

In 1983, Trevor decided to purchase a new Mack as they were being built in Palmerston North at that time.  Part of Trevor’s buying decision came via his dealings with Ron Carpenter whose business MTD had a mobile service network. Ron’s mechanic for the Waikato region, Rick Wood, would come any time day and night to service or repair Trevor’s truck while Trevor slept. In those days there were no restrictions on driving hours, so downtime was minimal. When Trevor and Sue welcomed their second daughter Olivia, Trevor didn’t get to spend any time with her for the first 6 months of her life as he was always on the road and only home every few days to get a change of clothes.

During this time, Trevor would ask Sue to buy him the Australian Truckin’ Life magazine every month. He enjoyed the read but became increasingly frustrated by the lack of New Zealand content. One morning he was so annoyed that Sue suggested maybe he should start his own magazine. In March 1985 the first issue of NZ Trucking magazine hit the shelves.

In 1989, Trevor, now a full-time publisher with a passion for the industry and a deep desire to introduce the road transport industry to the general public, came up with the idea to run the first ever national road transport exhibition. In March 1989, the first of many shows was held at Mystery Creek in the Waikato with over 23,000 visitors from across the country turning out to see 110 exhibitors.  Today it is known as THE EXPO.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

1989 was a very busy year for Trevor as he also starting truck racing in New Zealand. The first event was the Caltex New Zealand Truck Grand Prix held at Pukekohe raceway in April 1989. More than 25,000 people jammed Pukekohe raceway with thousands more watching on TV. It was the biggest motor racing crowd at the track in 20 years and one of the biggest sporting crowds of any sort for the year. Truck racing in New Zealand carried on under Trevor’s management up until 1994.

In 1995, Trevor was made an offer he couldn’t refuse when Rupert Murdoch’s Independent Newspapers Ltd offered to buy NZ Trucking magazine. A deal was made and Trevor became the manager of INL’s industry-based magazines division. However, in true ‘Trevor style’, he decided within a year that the corporate structure was not for him and left the magazine to focus on the transport shows and truck racing.

For the next few years, Trevor spent his time dedicated to the transport shows, adding a Truck Show at Penrith, Australia and a Contracting Expo held at the Stevenson Drury Quarry.

In early 1999, Tony Freidlander (then CEO of the Road Transport Forum) asked Trevor to take over running the Road Transport Forum’s monthly newsletter. Trevor decided there was an opportunity to get back into publishing and pitched the idea of starting an official magazine for the Road Transport Forum. In March 1999, NZ Truck & Driver magazine was born. Trevor, along with wife Sue, have run the magazine company, Allied Publications, since then and have added other titles including the Equipment Guide magazine, Truck Body & Trailer magazine and NZ Logger magazine.

In the past 20 years, even while running all these magazines, Trevor has never been one to shy away from his responsibilities to the Road Transport Forum and the industry as a whole. His donations and sponsorships for all sorts of programmes, shows and awards are too many to list and even remember.

In 2017, Trevor received the Road Transport Forum’s Supreme Contribution Award for all of his dedication to the industry over the years.

Trevor played premier rugby until he was 40 and coached his son’s rugby teams  throughout their school years. In the early days, he would turn up to the school’s rugby fields with pads bolted to the back of his 4-wheeler so the boys could practice scrums. In the end, he had a scrum machine built out of a trailer axle and donated it to the school.

Something Trevor’s son, Hayden, will always remember is when the schoolmaster stood in front of the parents to explain “we are here to have fun and winning is not everything”, to which Trevor replied in a loud voice something like ‘F@#k that, we are here to win’ which was then agreed with by all parents and the headmaster. 

Almost every year, the teams he coached made the finals and his dedication to training hard, putting in the effort and getting rewarded for it flows into his everyday life.

Trevor also has a strong passion for fishing and has served as Club President of the Bay of Islands Sports Fishing club, the oldest saltwater fishing club in NZ. He has also run the Southpac Trucker & Loggers Fishing competition out of their Paihia club rooms for the last 15 years and this is by far the biggest tournament on their yearly calendar.

Trevor’s deep passion for the New Zealand road transport industry is ongoing and he is very reactive to the many challenges the industry faces with a strong focus on driver training and recruitment as he sees this as one of our greatest challenges going forward.