The tanker was officially blessed at a ceremony held at the Future Trades Centre in Whangarei by NorthTec kaumātua Hohepa Rudolph, who named it Uruao (Tail of the Scorpion). The name refers to one of the first great ocean-going waka built for the earliest migrations to New Zealand.
In return, NorthTec chief executive Mark Ewen presented Barry McColl, Fonterra’s national transport and logistics manager, with a carved wooden paddle.
“We are concentrating on outcomes for our stakeholders and making sure we deliver on those outcomes. It isn’t always easy for us to have the right resources to deliver for all our stakeholders, but now we have a truck and trailer for the next three years,” Mr Ewen said.
“It is a very generous investment in us – an investment because we need to be producing more drivers from our region and employing more drivers in our region. It’s an investment in us to deliver fully-trained drivers back to the industry for the next three years and beyond.”
Mr McColl said Fonterra was proud to be able to support initiatives that helped develop communities and gave back to the regions where the company operated.
“These are the communities that our farmers and our people are part of, so being able to help out with resources that bring new opportunities is important to us,” he said.
“Here in Northland there are lots of young people who are seeking employment, and we hope this truck gives them a tool that they can use to gain experience and a springboard into a new career.”
Fonterra’s regional transport training manager, Darrin Rhodes, said the company had often discussed the shortage of drivers in the industry, and decided to work with polytechnics to address the issue, providing vehicles to enable driver training.
He presented Mr Ewen with a model of the tanker and trailer, in acknowledgement of the new partnership.
The tanker, which is on long-term loan to NorthTec, will be used to train students for their Class 4 and 5 truck licences.
It can also be used for completing driver competence tests and assessments, and other training opportunities such as safety inspections, mechanical inspections and truck safety days.