Hall of Fame Inductee 2023
Ian Guise was born on 3 September 1928 in Riverton, Southland and grew up on the family farm.
Ian got his driver’s licence when he was just 16, in the early years of World War II, and
started work driving a truck on a Dacre farm. After the war, he graduated to driving
excavators and drag lines for contractor, Pat Cody.
In 1949, he acquired Mossburn Transport in partnership with his father, Herbert. That
business became Northern Southland Transport Ltd. However, Herbert soon lost interest
in trucking, and in 1950, the pair bought a 1600-acre property near Pleasant Point, in
South Canterbury. They spent some five years working hard to develop the farm and
struck it lucky, when in 1951 the Korean War triggered a wool price boom.
The sale of the farm in 1955 left Ian with enough money to buy a house in Invercargill and
422 acres of unproductive land on Awarua Bay Road. To earn a living for himself and his
wife Joan, Ian bought a truck and a Spey Street depot from local carrier, Ossie Thyne.
In August 1955, a few months after taking over, Ian had saved enough money to pay cash
for another truck; a five-ton A5 Bedford with a hoist. Over the next five years, the business
grew, acquiring five more trucks, including a furniture truck to make deliveries for the local
auction rooms. In 1960, Ian Guise Ltd was formed, and business was booming.
Work in the construction sector continued and the firm carried all the cement for
both the Newfield school and the Alliance Freezing Company’s cool store at Lorneville.
To accommodate continued growth, in 1961 the Clyde Street site was expanded to create
more offices, a workshop and storage space.
In the 1960s, Ian added grain, steel and fertiliser cartage work to the business, to and from
the port at Bluff, and by 1967 the firm had 11 trucks.
That same year, Ian bought S & J McRae, a Nightcaps carrier with 17 trucks, that was
formed in 1932. To fund this, Ian raised money through Mobil Oil, while Northern Southland
Transport and Otapiri Transport each took a 20 percent stake in the business. Nightcaps
Amalgamated Haulage’s five-truck fleet came with the deal and Ian Guise Ltd now had
32 trucks - twice as many as before the purchase.
In 1968, Ian Guise Ltd amalgamated with Ohai Carrying Company, Ohai Freight Service and
Otautau Transport to become Southland Freight Haulage Ltd.
The late 1960s saw the construction of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter, near Bluff, giving
rise to in Ian’s words “the most important haulage contract to let in Southland”. In the face
of stiff competition, including from Australia, Southland Freight Haulage was successful
with winning this contract, one that Freight Haulage Limited retains to this day.
The early 1980s saw the deregulation of the road transport sector, and with it, the threat of
northern trucking operators heading south. Foreseeing this, in a classic offensive-defensive
move, Ian made his boldest acquisition yet - Pheloung Holdings, the biggest trucking firm
in Dunedin, which became Freight Haulage Ltd.
In 1986, Australian company Southern Cross Enterprises acquired Freight Haulage Limited,
along with Transport North Canterbury, of Rangiora, Child Freighters, of Palmerston North,
and TNL from Nelson, combining to become Trans Pacific Limited (Transpac).
Ian moved to Christchurch to become the organisation’s interim operational head, before
returning to the south in 1988 to retire.