Hall of Fame Inductee 2016

Mervyn Solly

Merv’s huge success in the road transport business can be attributed to his self-discipline, tenacity and single mindedness.

He was born on the 20th of November 1947 in Collingwood, Nelson and is loyal to his hometown, still living in Rockville at the house previously owned by his parents.

Merv went to school at Collingwood School and demonstrated his work ethic early in life by negotiating a contract with the school to mow lawns.

He maintained a disciplined regime from a young age, always cleaning his school shoes, which has carried on throughout his business.

At the age of 15, he became a driver for his father’s business, Solly’s Contractors Ltd and, at the age of 23, he became the manager. The business at that time had 10 staff members and focused on the local farming community. The 1970s were a difficult time, but the young manager kept the company afloat.

In the 1980s Mervn began growing Solly’s Contractors. He began Sea Tow Ltd, a company that barged dolomite from Golden Bay. His initiative made this a highly successful venture and both businesses boomed.

He purchased Fernbrae Farm, which included Fernbrae Lime Ltd. Sollys carted lime from Fernbrae to local famers. In 1992 he purchased TNL Group Ltd’s Golden Bay rural operation in Takaka. This nearly doubled the staff.

In 1999 he added the Nelson Coal Distributors business, which expanded his reach to the West Coast and Christchurch.

Under his governance, Solly’s also became a shareholder in Taylor’s Coal Ltd and Coastal Bulk Shipping Ltd.

The business went from strength to strength, utilising Merv’s dedication and initiative.

Today the business has spread throughout New Zealand. Merv was able to take a small local five truck business to a 100 truck national business, whilst maintaining the local focus the company began with.

He has been active outside his business as well and is a member of the Road Transport Association and the Contractors Federation.

In his limited spare time he has a keen interest in sea fishing, especially with his ‘Old Boys’ group or his grandsons.

Don Wright
Neil Reid