Events, Truck Shows

Kiwi Kenworth celebration


New Zealand’s sole Kenworth distributor, Southpac Trucks, put on a show earlier this year, coinciding with Waitangi Weekend, to celebrate the Kenworth brands 100 years in the land of the long white cloud.

With preparations going back two years, Southpac staff numbering more than 100 made sure the event would be huge success.

Kenworths have been sold in New Zealand for over 50 years now, with the early models privately imported for logging operations that were sourced from Kenworth Canada where the specification was more similar.

A last minute wipe over before the judging commenced.

Now all NZ Kenworths are custom built in Kenworth Bayswater plant at Australia’s Paccar HQ in Melbourne, Victoria tailored to suit the unique NZ conditions, axle loadings and weights.

Southpac Trucks, or as it was known 30 years ago, South Pacific Trucks were the importer for Foden. Hence, with Paccar taking over, then DAF and Kenworth, the brands all joined together under one umbrella in New Zealand.

Many loyal Foden operators changed straight into Kenworths to keep their traditional North American-sourced drivetrain.

Their success is obvious, with DAFs and Kenworths leading their respective classes year after year with impressive growth that shows no sign of slowing.

Log haulers were out in force.

Paccar amd Kenworth senior management from Australia and the US attended and were blown away with the scale the passion Kiwis had for the Kenworth brand.

The show of all shows was on a scale never reached before in NZ. The Mystery Creek Events Centre outside Hamilton on the North Island had plenty of room. Being centrally located near the major transport route and plenty of infrastructure, registrations topped 800 units, leading organisers in becoming a little nervous on how it would all work out.

Every model sold in NZ was represented, from the 1950s early imports to brand new T909s, C509s and SARs. Wall to wall Kenworths, all lovingly looked after, bling blinging like never before.

The set up day saw some early arrivals and merchandise, probably 100 trucks parked up by day’s end.

A smart-looking tipper, nicknamed the “Heineken Express”.

Come Friday and the sun was even brighter, and by 11am around another 150 trucks were in. Within the next six hours some 400 trucks arrived, one after an another, fleets together numbering 10, 20 or 40 at a time. It really was on fire!

As the sun set, the late comers filled the vacant spots quickly with final trucks rolling in just before midnight, totalling 756 Kenworths, all expertly marshalled and measured by Southpac staff.

Saturday brought the sun and the rain but with some 10,000 people attending the free “public day” , it was a truck tragic’s dream.

On Saturday night the special VIP black tie dinner was the fitting end to the huge occasion, some speeches, good food, good company and a hall filled with 20 plus SAR Legends or special new Kenworths on display!

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