Hall of Fame Inductee 2023
Peter John Walker was born in Dannevirke on 21 March 1934, the second of six children and lived in Hamoa.
His family moved to Alfredton before settling in Eketahuna when he was 11-years-old, where
he attended Eketahuna District High School. He left at 15 to go farming, which he did for 18
months before an interest in trucks led him to work for Eketahuna Carrying Ltd. It was hard
work with long hours. When his previous boss bought a new farm, he asked Peter to return
to farming. As he had met his wife Maureen, and the job came with a house, it seemed the
right thing to do.
Peter and Maureen were married in 1955.
After his farming boss passed away, Peter started searching for jobs on stations, however,
he was still interested in trucking. The couple started looking at transport opportunities
and after spying an advert in the paper for a transport business in Aria in the King Country,
made some calls. There were four carriers in the area, but this was the only one truck
company for sale – a four-wheel Morris. After a call to the company accountant in Te Kuiti,
they travelled to Aria to have a look. After the visit, he went back to Te Kuiti to meet with
the accountant, who sounded Peter out on the business. He was very interested. Having
little money, they needed to source financing. Once approved, Peter and Maureen were
the proud owners of the four-wheel Morris truck and P J Walker Ltd was started.
The Walkers were welcomed into the community and found Aria a great place to have a
business. After a few years, business was going well and with opportunities arising it was
time to expand the fleet. First was a Thames Trader in 1960, followed by a petrol Commer
in 1962 and then an Austin loader and cream pickup run.
The Walkers then bought Gordon Evans Carrier in 1963. Later, they acquired Frank Bennett
and expanded their fleet to six trucks. Peter had six licences and carted everything
including buildings, fertilizer and stock to the rail head.
Once the 40-mile restriction was lifted, Peter ventured to haul stock to the works in
Auckland, Fielding and Hawkes Bay. Over the next few years, Peter expanded further,
purchasing Mokauiti Transport. Deciding the business was enough for him and Maureen
to manage, they continued to operate in Aria until the opportunity arose for the business
to be bought out by Progress Transport in 1979.
Peter worked for Progress Transport as the Sales Manager until his retirement in 2004. After
Maureen passed away, Peter moved to Taupo to be near family. It also meant he is in a more
central location for getting out the caravan and visiting friends around the North Island.
Peter has always been a member of the King Country Road Transport Association,
including time as president. He also served as president of the Waikato Regional Road
Transport Association and was made a life member in 1988. At the fine age of 88, he still
attends regional meetings and has attended every conference over the years except three
held in Wellington and one other.
The success of the business has been a real family effort, and Peter says without the support
of Maureen, looking after the children and answering the phone and RT, he would not have
been able to achieve his dream.