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Award recognises Nigel’s service

A “taonga of Wairarapa” has been recognised for 23 years of transporting the community dry and on time.

Tranzit Coachlines operation manager Nigel McLean received the Outstanding Service Award at the recent Wairarapa Business Awards.

In his 23 years of service, he coordinated transport for Wairarapa’s biggest events, including Toast Martinborough, and Wings Over Wairarapa. He also oversees public transport services in Wairarapa for Metlink.

One of his biggest annual jobs is coordinating transport Scout Jamborees which involved transporting 65 coaches of people throughout New Zealand and 36 coaches per day to 36 different places in under an hour.

Upon accepting his award, McLean said he was absolutely stoked and proud of the recognition.

“I was absolutely amazed. I knew one of the other recipients.

He said it was also a recognition of his wife, who “puts up with a lot”.

“I’m always on call. Sometimes I get calls at 11.30 at night because a bus has broken down and they need to organise a replacement.”

McLean recalled his biggest job was coordinating the transport of 7000 students from 30 schools from Martinborough and Pirinoa through to Masterton for the school haka world record attempt at Memorial Park.

“It was one of those huge challenges, but we did it. “ McLean said.

With wife Erika. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

In the award entry, endorsed by several of Tranzit’s customers, he was described as “a taonga of Wairarapa in terms of the massive contribution that he makes for the benefit of others.”

Communications manager Katie Farman said Tranzit put his name forward without hesitation.

“When Business Wairarapa announced the criteria for the service award, Nigel’s name instantly came to mind. We couldn’t think of anyone more deserving of this award.”

She said his local knowledge was instrumental in getting people from A to B on time.

“He knows exactly how long it will take, whether there are road works.

“A company will ring up asking for transport to Cape Palliser, he will instantly know the time it takes to get there.”

Tranzit offered McLean a position after watching his efforts in organising transport of the Scout Jamborees, which he is still involved in today.

McLean made the move from Lower Hutt where he was a truck driver.

“Some decisions you spend weeks on it, like buying a car but taking the job at Tranzit was a quick decision,” he said.

“I asked my wife and two daughters about it. They said ‘let’s do it’.”

Although he had never lived in Wairarapa previously, he was returning to his family roots.

When asked if it felt like 23 years, he said it definitely feels like it sometimes.

“There’s always a chance of a few hiccups, some you just can’t avoid.

“If a bus breaks down, the most important thing is to send a replacement there, get the passengers moving again.”

However, he relished the moments when disasters were avoided.

“The weather for Toast this year was meant to have rain, but it skirted around Martinborough. Then after we picked up the last group from Martinborough, it started raining. We avoided the whole thing.”

Helen Holt
Helen Holt
Helen Holt is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age and enjoys reporting on a variety of topics, regularly covering Wairarapa events, tourism, local businesses, and the occasional health story.

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