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The Truck Driver MacGyver
 May 2020    Story Dave McLeod Photos Gerald Shacklock

Remember MacGyver – that hit tv series from back in the 1980s? And MacGyver himself – the super-cool, super-smart dude who came up with outrageous high-tech tricks to get himself and others out of trouble?

Well, about 30 years ago, the New Zealand trucking industry had its own MacGyver-like figure – Auckland transport operator Robin Thomas earning a bit of a whizz-kid reputation for his innovative thinking and can-do attitude.

With an old K-900 Series Dodge, a D Series Ford, a 4x4 Commer and an FR Mack – each with Hiab truck cranes – he was building a business on the back of finding ways to deliver bulky objects into hard-to-reach locations.

"I did a lot of difficult jobs – jobs that nobody else wanted to do. When I was on my own, driving the FR Mack, customers nicknamed the truck MacGyver. It used to have it written on the front of it.

"And, just like MacGyver, you had to really go beyond the call of duty to satisfy the customer. And that driving force just snowballed.

"For a long time," he says, "I had some of the biggest Hiabs available in Auckland." 

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