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George Daley and his refurbished CH Mack truck, Daley 1, make a pit-stop after attending the Mack celebrations. Photo: SUPPLIED

Paeroa trucker’s life on the road

Daley 1, a CH Mack truck with a rated capacity of 50 tonnes, was welcomed into the Daley family in 1996.
Since then, the truck and its driver have spent hours on the open road, hauling whatever needed to be hauled, and witnessing the change of the industry from the front window.
Daley 1 was right in the centre of the 40-strong line-up of Mack trucks in a special display during a commemorative event at Manfield, Palmerston North last month.
The show celebrated 50 years since the first New Zealand-made Mack truck rolled off the assembly line, and featured around 180 different Mack models.
Well-known Paeroa trucking figure George Daley – whose real name is Gene – was recognised during the show for the many years he’s spent in the industry. The almost-82-year-old did start when he was 16, after all.
“I turned 15, left the orphanage, and they sent me on a train to Taumaranui, and that’s when I started,” he told The Profile.
George started trucking commercially at age 17 in Opiki, close to what would one day become the home of Mack trucks in New Zealand – Palmerston North.
He went on to cart coal in Auckland and logs in Tokoroa, before moving to Paeroa in 1959 where he met his wife, Carole Anne.
He worked for the well-known Brenan & Company up until 1965, when it amalgamated with another long-established carrying business in the district, Sarjants Transport Limited.
The new company was dubbed Provincial Transport Limited, and George bought his first truck, a Volvo, off the business in 1987.
One year later, he started his own venture, G&CA Daley, and over the years he expanded his business to include around eight or nine trucks. George continued trucking full-time until around 12 months ago, when he decided, after a life on the road, to sell the business.
“He still retains an interest in what’s going on, he’s just not out driving every day like he was at age 81,” Carole said. “This time last year, some days he was still starting at 4am.”
George knew in 2021 that he wanted to attend the 50 years of Mack celebrations this October, and so spent the best part of a year refurbishing Daley 1 to make it look as good as new.
There’s no doubt the truck will remain a part of the family.
“He’s been a hard working family man and [the kids] have always been supportive and proud of what he does,” Carole said.
George still holds a truck licence and still undertakes jobs from time to time, and when he’s asked what the future holds, he says: “Let’s wait and see”.