Hall of Fame Inductee 2015

Ralph Munn

Stanley Ralph Munn, born on 30 October 1939 in Greymouth, was first employed as an apprentice Automotive Electrician in the Greymouth firm, Connors and Blackmore.

After 20 years with this employer Ralph moved into the transport industry as Dealer Principal with Farmers and Contractors Supplies Limited. He quickly embraced the change in role and shortly thereafter was awarded the International Harvester Top Truck Sales award for New Zealand, two years in a row, even though he only sold in his downtime from his main role as the manager. His success in sales was based on his understanding of the buyers needs leading to repeat business.

In 1986 Ralph took up the role of Managing Director for Ross Holdings (Westland) Limited. Sir John Davies was the Chairman of the Board and this was the start of 20+ year working relationship with him. He was a great mentor and guide to Ralph, giving him the opportunity to develop in his role. 1986 was the same year Ralph joined the Road Transport Association, appointed the West Coast Vice President in June 1987.

Running a transport company is not a 40-hour five day a week job and it is not trite to say that Ralph was available to staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week. His family recall being woken often at night with trucks being involved in incidents or events, floods and snow. If Arthurs Pass and Lewis Pass were urgent freight, couriers and the paper would have to go from Christchurch via Blenheim to get to Greymouth for the morning deliveries. Ralph also sadly dealt with some fatalities and even an event ruled by the coroner as an autocide. The support Ralph gave those drivers and their families was definitely appreciated.

One of the biggest events Ralph dealt with during his time with Ross Holdings was the fire which destroyed the Greymouth Trans West Depot in 1989. Fortunately no one was injured but 5 freight trucks and 4 forklifts were damaged or destroyed. Ralph relished the challenge to rebuild and the new depot opened in 1990 with 6 new B-Trains. By 1995 the fleet had grown to 42.

In 1993 Ralph was appointed West Coast Branch President of the RTA and he held this position until 1999 when became the Christchurch Branch President having moved there to manage the Caltex contract and new freight depot. In 1998 he was elected as the Branch Representative of the Region 4 Executive and became Branch President in 2000. He was instrumental in the regional restructure from 5 regional associations into a joint venture.

As part of the 2004 deal between Caltex, Hooker Pacific and Ross Holdings, Ralph transferred with the Caltex Contract to become the South Island Team Leader for Hookers.

Ralph retired from Hookers in mid-2007 to spend some more time with his wife Shirley and undertake some overseas travel. Ralph and Shirley have three children, Michelle, Belinda and Wayne, who are a credit to them both, even if Shirley sometimes felt like she was a single mum.

Ralph is a Life Member of the NZRTA Region 4, but the Road Transport Association is not the only group to have benefited from Ralphs community involvement. He was involved in Scouts, School Committees, Church Vestry, and most significantly over 40 years with Lions Clubs International. He is both a Life Member of the Lloyd Morgan Lions Club Charitable Trust and a Melvin Jones Fellow with Lions International.

Paul Balneaves
Robert Burnett