Nelson Forests logging drivers look back with pleasure

By John Cohen-Du Four

by dpadmin on 1st November 2017

2017 saw the retirement of two of Nelson Forests’ longest-serving drivers – Gary Gardiner of Waimea Contract Carriers and Pete Friend from Stuart Drummond Transport.

With a combined total of ninety four years on the road, there’s not a lot these two haven’t’ seen.  And while many changes have come and gone, one thing has never wavered: their infectious love for a life behind the wheel.

Gary first hit the road as a twenty-year old in the mid 1960s.  “I cut my teeth with Sollys in Collingwood.  They had a fleet of Bedfords and I drove every one of them.”


In the 1970s Gary began driving for Irvines.  “They were different times back then,”  he laughs.  “Like when the rail was out – we’d put in 18 to 20 hour days!    I once did a run from Nelson to Christchurch, to Blenheim, to Christchurch, to Invercargill, and back again to Christchurch.”

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