Bill Nimon – Nimon & Sons Ltd
Bill Nimon: Nice to see you all. Now the history of the family is quite interesting. There’s quite a lot to it, and I’ll just touch on some of it way back just to give you a bit of an idea. But the Nimon name comes from ‘Nimmo’ which is French, and it means ‘no name’, actually. [Chuckles] And it started … well, I’ve tracked it back to about the 14th century, and we started off there. They were Huguenots, the family, and chased by the Catholics out of France; they went to Scotland and they did some … I don’t know what sort of deeds they did, but they got a coat of arms, which we have actually on our hundred year badge that we had on the buses. And then they went to Ireland. A lot of families added different letters to the name; there’s Nimoy, Nimot, all that sort of thing. We had Nimon – there’s also Nimmon (with two ems). Sometimes wonder why ours wasn’t like that, because if you tip it upside down, it says ‘No win’. [Laughter] So it’s better if you have two ems – it’s ‘Now wins’ – so … bit of an issue really.
Anyway, there were [was] a big family in Ireland, but they couldn’t survive; things were getting pretty tough, so they decided they’d go to Australia. Two of the brothers decided in the end that they were the ones that were going to go, and one went to Australia and the other one decided [he] didn’t like Australia so he went to Pennsylvania. And there are not a lot of people with our same surname, N-i-m-o-n. The family in Australia settled around Ballarat, and there’s actually a railway bridge there called Nimmons Bridge –
Woady Yaloak is the area. There were I think eleven children, a lot of girls; some of the guys stayed there, but two brothers came to New Zealand. One of them went to Dunedin and he was a policeman. Now we don’t know whether he actually had any kids – we think he did, but he never married. [Chuckles] So … the family are quite good at that. [Chuckles]
Anyway, Jack or John Giles, who’s my great grandfather, he started in Dunedin, and he worked his way up to the North Island and he started working for Donnellys at Crissoge; and Donnelly – well, he was married to [the] Māori princess [Airini Donnelly]; and they had land up in inland Patea as well. And he used to run bullock wagons. He was also fluent in Māori, so he was used to interpret a lot. He was also very good with horses, and so he – this is John Giles, known as Jack – he used to take the Donnelly family out to Waimarama, and he used to do interpreting. He also used to pick horses for the Army ‘cause he was very good with horses. I’m afraid if they haven’t got tail lights on them, I don’t even know which way they’re going, so I’m not very good with horses. [Chuckles] Anyway, that’s a shame probably. [Chuckles]
My great grandmother was a seamstress, and … she worked for Kirkcaldies, I think, in Wellington … and was persuaded to come and be a governess for Mrs Donnelly. And obviously, while they were out doing whatever they were doing it at it Waimarama, she was looking after the kids and he got to talk to her, and they ended up finally getting married.
My grandfather, Joe, who’s the eldest, was born in a little cob cottage. I don’t even know if it’s still there, but you could see it off Swamp Road, up against the hills out at Fernhill there. When I was a kid, they pointed it out a few times. That’s where he was born; he was one of six children, so we’ll just run through this a bit anyway, so as we go along.
Now, this gentleman here is William Arthur Beecroft; now he started about 1865 … roughly then … in Hastings, and he had the hearses and the taxis and everything; and the buses, and he used to run buses backwards and forwards between Hastings and Havelock. And he in the end had my great grandfather working for him. He decided he didn’t want to work for Donnellys any more, and he’d got married and wanted to do something for himself, so he started working for Mr Beecroft. And in the end I think they agreed to buy the Havelock Hastings bus service off him – and the house – in 1900, but he didn’t pay for it ‘til 1905, because that’s the sale document; we still have it, which is that there [indicates photo] – has all the things that were sold, and still his stamp and everything on it … the stamp duty … and that was September 1905, or 5th September 1905. And that’s when they started running the buses, at that stage for the family.
Now, John Giles’ wife was Edith Ridd, and the Ridd family came from Dartmoor; and in fact the family say that … is it Blackmore who wrote ‘Lorna Doone’?
Bill: He stayed with the Ridd family, and the story of Lorna Doone is actually written around the family, so we can sort of trace it back. But it’s a novel obviously, but he wrote the story about what the family was up to. That’s her lineage, and anyway, she came out with her family and they are basically all around Palmerston North and Kimbolton still. Anyway, they started off; they had the five children. The oldest was Joe, who was my grandfather; and then there was William Arthur, who’s my namesake; Cecil Edward and Aunt Edith … Edith Mary; they had a younger sister Lorna, who lasted for eighteen months, and died; and then there was Uncle Dick … Richard Alexander, and he was the same family; they were all in the same family. You can see them here as young children.
[Showing family photos]
We have Lucknow Lodge and we have these two horses. Here – Ivanhoe and Major – and I happen to know that Major is the taller of the two, and Ivanhoe’s the one with the white muzzle … the two horses. That was 1905; they had two horse buses at that stage; there was Advance, and everybody says it’s Retreat, but it’s not – it was Relief. And apparently they ended up with four of them – they had names too, but I don’t have photos or any records of them, so I don’t know what … they’re all to do with the battles of Lucknow; and a lot of the names are used from Indian battles … same as Napier, and all rest of it.
The family as you can see, took over this setup here. There’s just the two horse buses at that stage. And in 1912 they started getting into motor vehicles, and at that stage … round about that stage … you’ve probably seen pictures of buses in Havelock North; and the one that’s there quite a lot is not actually our bus, it’s a competition. And Nimon & Sons were running that service for … well, they actually ran it for a hundred years, 1905 to 2005 … a little bit over that … and then we lost it to tender. When the competition was running they were having great difficulty, so the only way they could beat them was to carry everybody for free. So they did that for six months and ran the others broke; [chuckles] so they just carried everybody for nothing.
Question: What year was that?
That was just after the war … the First World War. At that stage John Giles died, just, I think 1916; he was about fifty-seven – probably from the booze, because they’ve saved a lot of the accounts and things, and there were lots and lots of accounts for crates of whisky. [Laughter]
Anyway, his sons – two of them anyway – were JJ, or John Joseph, which is my grandfather, and his brother, William Arthur. They went to the First World War, and while they’re away, the mother, Edith – after the father died – she ran the buses. And then they came back and ran it, and started to get into the motor vehicles.
We’ve got some quite unique milestones: here is 1916 – the bus here has Iona College girls on it; in fact we were carrying them – the school started in 1914, so we’ve only got a couple of years to go and we’ve been carrying them for a hundred years. And the family have in generations been through Iona – I’ve got a daughter there still … another one.
This is an outing to Waimarama; and – I don’t know why I always want to stand on the roof – but my grandfather, Joe, is there with the cigarette hanging out of his mouth. And they are the local Brethren, came for an outing to Waimarama.
They went through all sorts of various vehicles; the Thornycroft here was the first bus in the district with … and possibly New Zealand … with pneumatic tyres. We were right in the forefront with vehicles; they bought a car and they stretched it, and keep working their way through it. The bus company wasn’t very big, and a lot of the family were getting a living off it … quite a lot of people in the family; trips overseas and everything else. And it went on, in fact the same problems we’re having now, they had then. There’s a speech that my Uncle Bill read out to the Rotary, and it’s almost identical to what I would say now, about road … tyres, fuel costs, wages and everything else. It’s almost identical – you could read it and people would think it was the same.
They quietly went along – they only had four or five buses for quite some time. When it came to the Second World War, none of the guys … they were all too old. But my Uncle Bill – he worked with the Land Army or the Reserves – and he was actually supervising loading ships on the Napier port and he had a heart attack. And in those days, “Oh look, he’s fallen down.” They didn’t really know what to do and he died, on the wharf, so that was the end of that. Then his family had to be supported all the way through. And so it got to the stage when … they had a farm as well … they’d bought a farm which was down the end of Iona Road and Middle Road, on the corner there. And they had a lot of leased land as well; and my Uncle Dick, or Richard Alexander, he ran the farm – that’s where they used to run the horses. They had a few acres around Lucknow Lodge, and they used to use the long mile. And what they used to do was let the horses out, and the family used to have to – in their bare feet – go as far as Pakipaki to get the horses in the morning, ‘cause they just let them run, and they used to have to go a long way to get them.
We’re getting up [to] 1915 – this is my grandfather, Joe. He was first on the Town Board – as was John Giles – for Havelock, and then he became the first mayor of Havelock North. This is my great grandmother and she died in 1953.
Just as we go down through here, just the various different vehicles. This is the Havelock bridge straight after it was rebuilt after the 1931 earthquake, and that was the one of the first vehicles over it in 1931. And as you can see, we get down here to 1936 – my Uncle Bill was still alive – and we had four buses and they were all American Studebakers. This is Uncle Bill and Grandfather together. We went down here a bit further; they got to 1939, they actually had changed to Morrises. A lot of that was because – my other great-uncle was Cecil – was working for New Zealand Motor Corporation, and he became the manager of New Zealand Motor Corporation; as it finally turned was Dominion Motors, and they sold Morris cars, so everybody had Morris cars and we had Morris buses – that was just how it worked. [Chuckles]
And you can see just here – the photograph of Grandfather – that’s Joe and his wife, Winnie, and Dad and his sister, Lorna, on the chassis there in 1935. It had just come off the boat in Napier. They used to get the bodies built locally. These ones here, 1951 and ‘54 Morris Commercials, were both built at Nuttalls in Napier, which [has] evolved into Weldwell now; that’s the family that owned it, and they were very well made; we’ve still got one in the shed and it’s actually made out of pipe like an aeroplane, and they don’t rattle. You can’t even get a new bus that doesn’t rattle nowadays. And they’re extremely good, and I’ve kept that particular bus because it has my birth date stamped on the ownership papers – it was delivered the day I was born. [Chuckles] So it just gives you an idea about how involved we are.
Anyway as we came along to about the 1950s Dad decided … he’d just missed out; he was lined up to go off to the war, but they decided there were enough people getting killed so he didn’t need to go … so he actually went to England with his friend, Ray Custance, and he worked in Morris Motors and the like. Ended up buying his famous Morris car that everybody used to see him driving round in – the blue one, soft top. He actually assembled it and bought it off the line, and then he and Ray Custance went round Europe in it.
And Dad then joined the RAF, and decided that he was going to stay there. He came home after a short space of time to say his farewells to the family ‘cause he was going to stay in England; and he meet Mum … never went back. [Laughter] So he never went back, so it’s sort of a bit of a … an interesting turn.
So when he came back he needed to get a job, because there was not enough work for him. So he started working … and actually I think just before we went overseas he was working for Hawke’s Bay Motor Company … he worked for them for a wee while. And when he came home he decided that he couldn’t get a living out of the family business ‘cause there were too many people getting a living out of it. Big family, and all getting quite a lot older; and he was the only one that was involved in it. So he started the trucking company, Roadair, a refrigerated trucking company, and it was 1956, which he ran for forty years. We’re not going to go through that today because it’s a big story in its own; but in the meantime the buses just ticked along. They were sort of the poor relation, and we were all focused on trucks and did that, and the buses just really did what was necessary. They ran backwards and forwards, Hastings to Havelock; and when I was little, I think about eight or nine buses, so it wasn’t very big.
This one here, No 4, this was the one that was delivered the day I was born, and there’s a story with that; I was a Caesar, and Mum was in hospital. In those days they used to chop the women to bits when you were born. And she said I’d just been born and Dad turned up with this new bus, and he said, “Look, sit up, sit up! Look out the window; look at my new bus!” [Laughter] She said, “What about your new son?” “No, look at my new bus, out the window!” [Laughter] So anyway, I don’t think he went on like that all the time; I think he was reasonably proud. This is my father here.
[Shows more photos] This is Lucknow Lodge in 1957; and this is my wife and myself, and that was in 2003. That was a year that Dad actually died; quite a momentous year. That was the big concert they had at Craggy Range.
We had a few second-hand buses – we got up to eight, or No 8 there. These ones, I can remember going and getting this [in] 1961; and this bus I’ve seen driving round Hastings recently – somebody’s got it as a camper … some English guy’s got it and he wants to know the history of it. Still a few of them round – Grant Taylor has that one out at Maraekakaho. Some of these others have gone, and you’ll notice that we started to get these funny-looking buses, a different colour – that was the Railways. The story with the family there is that in about 1927 the Railways had bought up quite a few of the local bus companies that were around – it was NZR; and my grandfather and his brother tried to buy them off them, and they were only going to sell them the service that went to Mangateretere from Havelock. Anyway, in the end the whole deal fell over, and they couldn’t do it. But Dad and I finally did it, and in 1991 we took over the Railways … or the City Line … and started doing all the services for Napier and Hastings and Havelock North. So we did that through until 2008, I think; five years … 2007. Gobus took over in 2008; 2007, 2008 anyway.
1976, just as we run along the bottom here, [indicates screen] we had to get out of the yard in Middle Road, so Dad sold it, or he tried to sell it; it took a lot of doing. Think he ended up selling the building to Terry Longley and his wife for $23,000, and he was [a] bit gutted ‘cause he thought he’d be able to get a bit more out of it, but it was full of borer and it was leaning over, and it was … all sorts of things wrong with it. So they fixed it up.
But in 1975 we built a new depot which was in Martin Place, and we all thought, ‘well, that’ll be that – we won’t have to have another depot.’ So that was really needed because of the trucks, and at that stage the trucks had got to quite a big stage – we had a hundred and seventy-eight units. And when it finished in 1996, we had a depot in Dunedin, one in Christchurch, one in Blenheim, Palmerston North, Havelock North and Auckland, and we ran refrigerated produce all round New Zealand.
Hard to chuck the trucks, because we’d been so involved in it; and my brother and I started Roadchill in 1996; as Roadair finished we started that, and was actually the support of John Paynter over there which got us going. Did that for five years, and then unfortunately Otways wanted to buy it, and we thought it was a good idea so we sold it to them, but … thought it had great advantages, but it wasn’t, we probably would’ve been better to stay on our own, but anyway … such as a life of it.
In the meantime the buses have developed; when we had the tender for the town runs, we had the school tenders up at the same time, which was a massive undertaking; we at that stage had twenty-six school runs. So we’d grown a little bit, because as the Ministry had got out of their own buses we’d grabbed a bus here and a bus there, and the fleet had grown to about forty-five or fifty buses as well. So we quietly thought, ‘well, we’re going to have to tender for all this stuff. It’s a big move, and we’ll see how we go.’ So we tendered for the school runs ‘cause they’re all in clusters, and we had to tender in big blocks. We couldn’t tender in little bits and just pick out the old runs we had, so some of the Waipawa bus runs – there was a couple or three of them that were in our block – so we had to tender on those, and the upshot of it was we won forty school runs around here, and then lost the town runs. So we thought, ‘well this is lovely!’ We’d built the fleet – at that stage it’d got up to about eighty buses and it was quite a quite a difficult thing. The Otway thing had finished; I’d got out of that ‘cause I’d started working for them when we sold the trucking company; and Dad had got sick 2003, so I decided, ‘well we have to make something of this – can just let it go.’ So we worked out a strategy and started working on them; and unfortunately we didn’t win the town runs back; we got the school runs. And while we were working out how we were going to deal with all that there was a whole bunch of school runs come [came] up in Taupo, and we thought, ‘oh, we’ll have a go at those.’ There were fifteen companies tendered for them; we were the third highest. Fifteen companies got the papers, ten tendered; we were third highest; Gobus were the cheapest; Waipawa Buses who actually owned it and were doing it then, were the second cheapest. And they gave it to us ‘cause we had the newest buses. So we got a six year contract with two lots of three year right[s] of renewal, so there’s a twelve year contract there, and we now have twenty buses in Taupo. So we’re running over a hundred buses now.
In 2005 we’d been running that Havelock service for a hundred years; we thought, ‘well, we need a new bus on there so we’ll buy a super low floor’; that’s the way they were going. And we decided – a hundred years old, we’ll make it No 100 even they we didn’t have a hundred buses, and we’ll paint it gold. So we mucked around and mucked around with these colours, and we got this gold bus. Everybody loved it. And I thought, ‘mm … I’m getting a second-hand coach that nobody knows about. I think I’ll get that, whip it up to Tauranga and get it painted gold.’ And it was fairly new; it was only two years old, so I got it painted gold and it went down very, very well. So now all our new coaches … the five star ones … are all painted gold. If they’re not a five star coach they’re white if they’re town buses or school buses, or older coaches or ones that aren’t at a star-rated standard; they were normal white ones, otherwise they’re gold except for the Magpie coach, which we did for the Hawke’s Bay rugby team. We’ve been sponsoring them for a long time – we’re just wondering whether it’s working. [Laughter] I think they’re going to get relegated again, but anyway …
And we’ve tried all sorts of different things, and we actually – as you can see along the bottom here – the fleet changed quite a lot. We changed the color scheme and the badging, and we ended up advertising on our town buses, Tui beer. We had three or four different buses with Tui beer on; the trouble was that as they got older they’d have to go and do school runs, and the parents are ringing up and complaining we’re carting the kids round with Tui beer written all over the buses. So we decided it was probably better to go for something like sport, so that’s one of the reasons why we went into the Magpie bus – we’re actually about to put another one out in the next month or so, so there’ll be two of them, slightly different. [It’s] just that we’ve got a square coach that needed a repaint and it doesn’t suit our new colour scheme, so [chuckle] we’re gonna put stripes on it, black and white stripes, so we’ll see how it goes.
The next generation are interesting. In my family my brother and I are both in the bus company. He worked with me in Roadchill; he went away and operated hay balers for a while for Mr Kettle … Mike Kettle. And then he went and worked at Tumu Timbers, and he decided he didn’t really want the that because the hours weren’t right. And I said, “Well, we need somebody to run the Napier depot – maybe you should come and do that?” “Oh, yeah.” So he’s come back, and he was doing that; he’s actually come to Whakatu now ‘cause we’ve had to build a new depot there. So he came back and started working for us. And he’s got two children, very young, one’s fourteen and his son is eleven.
And my children now … my eldest is twenty-four; he’s a qualified diesel mechanic. My eldest daughter is twenty-one; she’s just finishing her honours degree in marketing. She’s [an] extremely good marketer, and she also does a lot of designing and she’s come up with the new logos, which is like that – the old one which was yellow with a red edge round it – and she’s used the same theme, and from a distance it actually looks like it’s got a light behind it.
And we’ve always had a parochial fight in our family. The Nimons came from Havelock and Hastings; and Mum’s family, the Geddes’, came from Napier, so it’s ‘them and us’; [chuckles] and one of the reasons why … I’m a great believer in it … we have Hawke’s Bay on here, because it’s Hawke’s Bay. So that’s what we’re doing with the new image.
That just gives you a bit of an idea of what we’re up to now. There’s the Magpie coach; now we’re great supporters of the Magpies; and there’s one of our new gold coaches. The latest one’s got leather seats; it’s better than any coach in the country, it’s right up there … toilets and all the stuff. Basically we got into that because of the cruise ships, because we now do all the inbound tour operators for the cruise ships; even though other buses are operating there, most of them are controlled by us now. And we this year have sixty-four ships – a bit bigger than last year; next year they’re proposing that … well, they think there’s going to be about eighty. So it’s quite a big deal. And yeah, when the season is really going we’re running up and down Te Mata Peak fifteen times a day. We have our own motorbike running up there to stop the traffic, ‘cause we have a management plan for the roadings now, which is done through the Council … Hastings District … ‘cause they’re not supposed to have vehicles longer than 7 metres, and these new ones are 13.7. So you have to know what you’re doing going up there, and we actually on Friday have to train a whole lot more drivers to see if they’re capable of going up there. [Chuckles] So that just gives you a bit of an idea of that.
But anyway, we got approached in Havelock – and I was just saying we didn’t want to really get out of the depot there – but we got approached by a group of people who wanted to buy the land. So we ended up … well, we decided we’d sell it, so we ended up building at Whakatu, which is right in the middle for us; we can really do most of our work within fifteen minutes of there. And we built ourselves a new depot, which is … I brought some of these newspaper things along; if people haven’t seen them they can take them away and have a read of them … which shows our new office and workshop. And some of the stuff on the back – just a bit of the history of the modern stuff, some of the people that are there, and that gives you a bit of an idea of what we built – across the back of it. We spent a fair bit of money there, but I’m hoping that the next generation won’t have to do it again.
But then the Council came along and decided they want to put a road through the middle of it. [Laughter] So – I’m sorry, Cynthia, but … [Chuckles] They are veering off to the side, but the road is actually going to go through the orchard that we bought, and through some of our property, so another change for us. So we’ve had a lot of changes.
It’s now a hundred and seven years we’ve been running this bus company and I’m the fourth generation. My eldest daughter is probably the keenest on the buses ‘cause she likes people, and very good at marketing. My son is very keen on mechanical stuff; he is more truck orientated, but he’s extremely good at his diesel work ‘cause he knows computers and mechanical. He still has a love for trucks; he and I have between us about twelve trucks … old ones that we have collected up … a lot of them with warrants, so we can’t leave it alone. And we’re also in the vintage machinery club, and some of you already know that. So we can’t leave the machinery alone, so we’re in it, and he’s keen. Garth’s young fellow’s not – he’s a computer whizz but he’s not really interested in machines, but that’s fine.
So [it] just shows you – we are now, I believe, the oldest bus company in New Zealand still in the same family ownership. Newmans were; it doesn’t actually operate now. Tranzit – which is nothing to do with the Newman family – Tranzit and Richie’s own the name through Intercity, but they’ve dropped it and they’re just running Intercity, ‘cause they’ve got Naked Bus competing with them now, so … that just gives you a pretty quick overview of the whole family and the bus business.
Don’t know what’s going to happen in the next ten years, but we’ll just keep going. And just as a matter of interest the tenders are coming up next year, so we’ll have another go. [Chuckles] We are very persistent, so we’ll see what happens. So have you’ve got any questions? I might be able to answer ‘cause I probably missed a whole lot of stuff.
Question (John Fickling): Not so much a question – I remember your grandfather very well when we were going into Havelock from Boys’ High. And going back a bit further than that my father was born and brought up in Havelock, went to Wellington and married there – my mother was a Wellington girl. They came back in 1950 to take over the family orchard. When Dad was introducing Mum around to the various people that he knew, he introduced your father as the uncrowned mayor of Havelock. [Chuckles] So there’s a little bit of information …
Bill: Well, that was probably grandfather rather than my father. No – that’d be right. And the families have been well linked together over the years. Ficklings – we carried fruit for them for years as well, with our refrigerated trucks. That’s the same as we did for the Paynters. And it’s just … get tied up with the community. Grandfather, as I was saying, he was … Joe was the first mayor of Havelock North; and my Uncle Dick was also on the Harbour Board, and he was also Chairman of the County Council, so they’ve been really well involved in the community over the years. We’ll see what happens in the future.
Question: Do you provide your drivers with meals?
Bill: Aah … depends where they are.
Question: Do you have a cafeteria at Whakatu?
Bill: Well, we have a smoko room; and if they’re just working during the day they bring their own, but there are snacks and things. But if they’re away on buses they actually get their meals provided as part of a deal. Some groups provide the meals for them. It just depends on how they want to cost it, but the drivers have to be fed, obviously.
Question: Bill, where’s your Dad’s little Morrie gone?
Bill: Dad’s little Morrie’s in the shed at Whakatu beside the bus, in the Mills’ Family Trust – Leyland and a whole lot of other trucks and stuff. Yeah. It’s still there, but he had a big collection of cars and it’s the only one we’ve kept. It’s just registrations on hold, but I’ve never changed it so he still owns it. He’s been being dead for nine years, but he still owns it, so … [Chuckles]
Comment: The family liked to hang out to things – I ran into your father’s Commer campervan a number of years ago at a vintage truck meet up at Whakatane, but it’s still sort of indirectly in the family, isn’t it?
Bill: Yeah, it is. I have these things if anybody wants to have a look through them. No other questions?
Comment (John Painter): Bill, I must say that you know, when I was a kid, like a lot of people here, you could walk down this main street and think about a lot of wonderful family … generational family businesses; and it was the same manufacturing and in funding, and lots of areas. This province was built on family businesses, and we’ve seen most of them go; and it isn’t easy to run a generational family business [chuckle] … succession planning … And this business – heavens – you’re in … huge amount of capital invested in depreciating assets; high degree of staff involvement; and you’re at the whim of tenders that you might or might not win, so … not an easy business. And to keep it going for a hundred and seven years … I mean a lot of us can remember Joe, and then your dad, and now you. And I say to you, “Well done, Bill.”
Audience: Hear, hear! Yes.
John: What your family has achieved is not easy. And you’ve made a wonderful presentation tonight, and I’ll tell you what – we’re all proud of what you’ve done here, Bill – this is terrific! This is not only about being financially successful, and you’ve got to be otherwise you won’t survive, but it’s about more than that. It’s about the history of our local area here; and I mean a lot of us can relate to this stuff over our lifetime, and say, “Gee – fantastic! Well done, Bill.” [Applause]
Bill: Thank you very much, John. There’s lots and lots of families doing it; not as many, as you say, but there’re a lot doing it; and it’s what binds you to the place, I think.
Cynthia Bowers: I just want to thank you – I’ve been pestering Bill for quite a while now, asking him to come and speak to this group, and he kept fobbing me off and saying, “Well, I don’t know what I’m going to talk about; I don’t know how I’m going to fill in enough time.” And in fact he was still saying that when I met him down in the car park this evening. [Chuckles] You filled in the time incredibly, Bill, and you’ve held everyone’s interest – it’s a fascinating story. And I just want to endorse John’s comments actually; the history is fascinating. But your story of business survival and how to cope in a changing world as well, is absolutely incredible. But what runs through this story is the strong sense of family and the strong sense of community, and so that’s absolutely tremendous – we are fortunate to have you here in Hawke’s Bay. And we’ve been really fortunate this evening to hear your story, so thank you so much for giving up your time to come and talk to us. [Applause]
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Landmarks Talk 29/1/12