Hokonui Rural Transport Ltd
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In Search of Perfection - 1st Oct 2016

As good as it looks the standout colour scheme of
Southland’s Hokonui Rural Transport could 
be considered something of a work in progress.
Under regular revision, that is – as the company goes to 
great lengths to make sure each new make and/or model added 
to the Gore-based fleet looks “perfect.”
It’s a livery that was born of change – created after the 
company was formed following the two-way split of Hokonui 
Haulage in 2003.
The new Hokonui Rural Transport retained the sea-green 
and white primary colours of the old company, but modified 
them into a new colour scheme, featuring a deeper band of 
green across the cab, a broad stripe running from the aero 
kit through the crates and yellow pinstriping highlights. The 
previous yellow chassis was also dropped in favour of dark grey.
A distinctive HRT logo and Hokonui Rural signage was 
designed then – and has remained a constant in the 13 years 
since….even through a change of the owners involved in the 
50% partnership with the HW Richardson Group.
But the livery did get a major makeover three years ago, 
with a modern – and much more prominent – restyling of the 
yellow striping on the side of truck cabs. 
Rather than the former, more traditional airflow-style 
striping, with its gentle curves, the new stripes are more 
sculpted, more ribbon-like….almost like a loosened bow. And 
there’s a sweeping, crescent-shaped sea-green section at the 
rear of the cab sides, framed by another yellow stripe.
With extra grey and yellow pinstriping, there’s a lot going 
on in the colour scheme – but it all comes together to provide 
a standout look to the Southland operation, which currently 
runs to 23 trucks, comprising livestock units, tippers and bulk 
fert groundspreaders. 
The latest addition to the fleet – a DAF CF85 which 
features as this month’s poster truck and earns HRT a finalist 
spot in the annual PPG Transport Imaging Awards– has called 
for more fine-tuning, says HRT manager Adam Waghorn.
“We’re forever trying to improve it (the colour scheme),” he 
confirms.
“This DAF was quite a challenge – just to try and figure out 
a plan. We’re quite lucky – we’ve got a pretty good relationship 
with our signwriter, Cliff McDermott from McDermott Signs 
in Invercargill, so we’ve spent a lot of time planning… and he’s 
right on the money.” The plan included painting two grille slats 
silver.
The painting is done by Bob Christie Ltd: “It’s quite handy – 
they’re right next door to each other.”
Waghorn admits that with the Space Cab DAF: “We were 
worried for a start – because it’s such a big cab – that we had 
too much green. But I think it’s come out pretty good to be 
fair.”
In fact, on second thoughts, he upgrades that: “No, we were 
rapt actually. It came out real good.”
A third new DAF is just being painted now and they’ve 
agreed on more minor changes – making some of the grey 
pinstriping slightly darker “to make it stand out a bit. It is quite 
hard to see until you’re up quite close.”
The previous challenge before the DAFs was making the 
most of the livery on three new Mercedes-Benz Axor sowers 
added to the operation – the first of that model on the fleet.
Last year, there were also two new Kenworth K200s that 
the livery had to be adjusted to suit: “It took a bit – just to get 
it perfect.” 
There is only one conventional on the fleet – a Freightliner 
Century Class. Its livery predates the revised striping in 
2013, which was first applied to two new Freightliner Argosy 
livestock units.
The look of the trucks, Waghorn confirms – unnecessarily, 
considering the painstaking work that’s gone into each 
new make and model added to the fleet – is “definitely very 
important. We like to try and have sharp-looking gear out on 
the road.”
And yes, HRT does get “really good feedback” on the look 
of its trucks – from the public, within the industry and from 
customers. People notice “because we have been painting them 
a wee bit different since 2013.”
Rural transport is a tough line of work in terms of keeping 
trucks looking good: “The guys might spend all day polishing 
them, and then they’ll be down a gravel road the next day… 
It’s a hard job to keep them clean.” 
The realities of the rural work mean there’s no hard and fast 
rule about when trucks have to be washed: “Just when they can 
– you’ve got to work within your time limits.”
But he’s happy that they get the care and attention they 
deserve: “We like to think our drivers take pride in their 
trucks. We all just like to have them look good out on the 
road.” 

Courtesy of New Zealand Truck and Driver

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Hokonui Rural Transport
  • 48 Aparima Street
  • Gore 9772
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