School was quite an inconvenience for a young Jamie Ellison: He only ever set his sights on one goal – owning a truck.
Still, as single-minded as he's always been, he's even surprised himself with his success – having now progressed to being, at 36, the proud owner of not just one truck... .but a fleet of them!
He's even got a few Kenworths – his dream trucks. And there's another one due next month.
The owner of Wairarapa's Ellison Cartage – a nine-truck rural bulk cartage operation based just out of Carterton – says he "started young" with his passion for trucks.
And he's not kidding: His earliest memories of an involvement in trucks and trucking date back to when he was just four or five – growing up on the family farm at West Taratahi, about six kilometres north of Carterton. Waipapa Farm is a property that belonged to Jamie's grandparents... .and then his folks, David and Bernadette, after that.
"Dad always had one truck on the farm. I can remember my first ride in the truck with my father.
"It was taking some of our stock to the (now closed) Waingawa Freezing Works at Masterton in the D Series Ford."
That, as he says, "is where it all began." From then on, "every time there was a job to do in the truck, I was there."
School was just something that got in the way: "I used to be pretty disappointed when I couldn't go out and had to go to school."
By the time he left school at 16, he already knew how to drive the D Series – had even sneaked-in occasionally (during haymaking, for instance) driving it the kilometre between the two farms the family had at the time.
And, as far as what job he'd do... there was never any doubt: "That was it – all I ever wanted to do was drive trucks."
He filled in time by working on a local dairy farm for about 18 months – till he could get his HT (heavy traffic) licence as soon as he turned 18.
The day he started work for Carterton's Pinfold's Transport, driving a little four-wheeler Isuzu stock truck, was a day "with all sorts of emotions," he remembers.
About 18 months later, he shifted to David Pope Transport in Masterton – stepping up to a Mitsubishi Shogun 8x4 truck and trailer unit, also on livestock.
He was still with Popes when, at the age of 22, his Dad loaned him some money to help him buy his first truck – a three-year-old 450 horsepower Isuzu Giga dropside tipper, plus a secondhand split-tipper four-axle dropside trailer to go behind it.
Why a bulk truck? "At the time around here there wasn't anyone into that work," says Jamie.