To the New Zealand trucking industry, Jim Barker was an icon, a legend, pioneer, a visionary…and a larger-than-life character.
To truckie Daniel Mateni he was all of that….and much, much more. He was his beloved Grandad Jim.
The founder and inspirational leader of Freight Lines, Bulk Lines, Stock Lines, plus Strait Shipping and Bluebridge Ferries, was Daniel’s role model, hero, mentor and confidant.
And when Big Jim died back in 2016, Daniel – encouraged and supported by his grandfather – had just achieved the dream of buying his first truck.
He was devastated: “Jim’s death was a big hit for me. I’d only just started going….but I was ready to give up right then and there.
“In so many ways, the confidence in going out on my own was knowing that he would be there. Then (when he died) it was ‘what am I going to do?’ ”