More often than not, the fantastic stories behind the companies and people involved in New Zealand's trucking industry are only unearthed when you look way beyond the bright chrome grilles of the trucks…the faces of the owners.
Not so with Waikato-based Hart Haulage. In an arguably testosterone-dominant industry, its distinctively coloured trucks and trailers are quite the standout – and invariably trigger the question: "So….what's with the pink?"
And that – the very fact that it invariably prompts that question – IS the whole point:
"To me, pink is a conversation starter," explains Barry Hart, a transport industry veteran and the co-owner (with his wife Debbie) of Hart Haulage
"As a big guy (which he is), if you wear a bright pink shirt people say 'aren't you a bit manly for that colour? Isn't it a bit of a gay colour?'
"And I say 'no it's not…and this is what it represents,' so it starts the conversation. The fact that I've got pink on all my trucks starts to get the message out – and that message is anti-bullying."
At this point you may be rolling your eyes and thinking that this is just another good-cause-related marketing spin. But, believe me, this goes far deeper and darker than you would probably imagine – and, for a tight-knit family such as the Harts, it is very, very personal.