Wanaka man George Wallis, who was inducted into the New Zealand Road Transport Hall of Fame on Friday, with his 1926 International truck which is displayed at the Wanaka Airport Museum. Photo supplied.
Wanaka man George Wallis has been inducted into the New
Zealand Road Transport Hall of Fame at the Bill Richardson
Truck Museum in Invercargill.
Hall of Fame organisers said Mr Wallis was recognised for his
lifelong passion for International brand trucks - which began
when he bought his first truck, an International SF174 in
1959 - but more importantly for his role in putting in log
bridges on the Hawea River in the 1950s, which helped open up
the West Coast and Central Otago regions to heavy vehicles.
In 1960, Mr Wallis and his father, Arthur, established Haast
Timbers Ltd, which milled Haast logs at Luggate.
After Arthur's death in 1961, George and his brother, Tim,
accepted Carter Merchants' (later Carter Holt Harvey) offer
to buy cutting rights for Wallis timber, and George Wallis
continued the logging and timber cartage contract for
He formed Haast Transport Ltd in 1965, and bought B. H. Cowan
Ltd in 1968.
He established a freight run linking Haast with Central
Otago, had five trucks on permanent contract to the Ministry
of Works, which was building the Haast road, carted deer
carcasses twice weekly to Christchurch, supplied Mobil fuel
and organised the livestock cartage for the massive annual
cattle sales for the West Coast region.
The Haast contracting business was sold in 1974 and Mr Wallis
and his family moved to Wanaka, but Mr Wallis continued to
haul freight and fuel from Cromwell to Haast and ran
businesses supplying lucerne pellets and carrying out
agricultural contracting work.
He helped establish the Warbirds Over Wanaka International
Airshow with Sir Tim, and the Warbirds and Wheels visitor
attraction at Wanaka Airport.
He still owns six trucks today, along with several classic
cars and tractors.
''There are a lot of great characters who've been involved
with the road transport industry all around New Zealand over
the years, so it's quite an honour to be included with these
guys,'' Mr Wallis said of his Hall of Fame recognition at a
gala dinner on Friday.