Hall of Fame Inductee 2021

Richard Riley

Richard Riley was born on 17 March 1948 in Christchurch.

Upon leaving school in 1965, Richard began his career in the Road Transport Industry at John Brightling Limited (‘Master Carriers’) as an office junior. John Brighting, a skilled butcher, established his transport enterprise in 1867, and later went on to construct and operate a tramway, providing ‘night service’ collections and the manufacture and distribution of clay fired bricks.

Brightlings turned out to be an inspired choice as it was, in its time, unrivalled as a Christchurch based general carrier. The Managing Director, Ralph Higgott, was an innovative entrepreneur who had a huge influence on Richard’s early career development and progression. Ralph encouraged his young protégé to be expansive in his thinking, continually challenging his skill set, and in time to seek new horizons for personal development and advancement.

By the mid 70’s Richard was ready to guide his own ‘ship’ and accepted an appointment with The Owens Group (‘Trailways’). Over the following 10 years he held senior positions in Christchurch, Tauranga, and Auckland for a brief stint. Returning to Christchurch, he managed a business involved in the distribution of temperature-controlled goods throughout both Islands.

In 1986 he was appointed to the position of General Manager and director of NZ Express Transport Group; he held this position for 20 years until the business was sold in 2005 at which time Richard chose to retire from full time employment.

Richard believes the three most significant influences on the road transport industry during the period were as follows: for Christchurch, the transition of the Port of Lyttelton from rail to road following the opening of the Road Tunnel in the early 1960’s; nationally, the global advent of the ISO container for shipping and the influence on vehicle size, design , innovation and ultimately their diversity and efficiencies; and the introduction of legislation to allow open competition between Road and Rail in the early 1980’s.

Richard is of the firm belief that the industry can only achieve strength from the numbers that commit to supporting the local assocaition, not only financially but committing time and expertise. No one person has all the right answers, nor will the outcomes suit every operator’s business. It takes the collective energy of everyone to challenge and change the environment in which the industry operates. It is not good enough to sit on the side lines sniping at those who give of their time freely and willingly to achieve gains and insights for the benefit of all.

Richard considers himself privileged to have played a part in the various industry organisations and believes that he and those who employed him over the years, including the wider industry have benefitted from the efforts of all those who have ‘served’ over the many years dating back to its inception in the 1930’s.

It was never Richard’s intention to play any significant role in helping to guide the industry, he was happy to lend a hand, however progress does not just happen without the support, input and direction from the wider industry and the very skilled and committed representatives who devote their time and energy.

Neil Peterken
Steve Murphy