Teletrac Navman Fleet Focus | All good with the Wall of Wood

 
All good with the Wall of Wood
 June 2018    Story by Wayne Munro | Photos: Gerald Shacklock

If Kevin McKay was a bullshit artist, he'd tell you he knew it from the start. He'd reckon that his decision to quit his owner/driver contract – carting containers and bulk liquid tankers in the Bay of Plenty – buy a tipper and head for the back-blocks of the East Coast was all carefully planned.

Perfectly timed to put him smack-bang in the middle of things, just as the current East Coast logging boom began. Primed and ready to work – carting metal for forestry and rural roads – just as the harvesting of the Coast's long-talked-about Wall of Wood ramped up.

But just two days spent with the 43-year-old McKay is time enough to convince you that he's one of the nicest, most down to earth, honest, strictly-no-bullshit blokes around.

And so he says candidly that, oh no, the life-changing decision he and wife Megan made back in 2006 was just dumb luck.

That they didn't even know about the so-called Wall of Wood that forestry and logging people had been saying for years was looming up for harvesting on the Coast...

Had no idea that swapping their Mount Maunganui-based Mitsi Shogun tractor unit for a new Mitsi tipper, based about 25 kilometres inland from Tokomaru Bay (the back of beyond, even in East Coast terms), would put them in the perfect spot to service the boom's roading metal needs.

Here's Kevin's take on it: "I think it was just a wee bit of luck – like going up there at the beginning of a sort of forestry boom coming on...."

A few years earlier and they would probably have been one of the many, many casualties of the so-called "Huaguang disaster" – the financial failure in 2003 of the Chinese company that had bought the cutting rights to East Coast Forests for $96million just the previous year.

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