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End of the Pinfolds era

Stock on the move from a coastal station. PHOTO/FILE

After 102 years, family-run livestock transport business Pinfolds is retiring its trucks and closing its doors.

“It is an absolute tragedy,” Masterton sheep and beef farmer Mike Butterick said. “They’re a fundamental part of Wairarapa.”

Pinfolds was founded by Walter, who passed the business on to his son Podge, who later passed it on to his son, present owner Steve Pinfold, who ran it with his wife Karen.

It began as a horse and cart carrier in 1919 after founder Walter returned from World War I. He bought the company’s first truck in 1922.

In 2015, Pinfolds celebrated 95 years and was viewed as an integral part of the community by farmers such as Butterick.

According to Butterick the main reason for the closure is a lack of fair remuneration.

“It shouldn’t play out like this,” he said.

“It is unfortunate that due to increasing pressures faced by livestock carriers that Steve has had to make, what I imagine to be a very difficult decision to shut the doors,” Martinborough Transport managing director Josh Hawkins said.

“It is sad to see the end of a company that has been operating for over 100 years. It will be a massive loss to the rural communities that Pinfolds have provided loyal service to for that time.”

While Pinfolds was capable of transporting livestock anywhere in the North Island, Butterick said there were some jobs where the company would lose $200-300, rather than make money.

Butterick wondered where other livestock transport options were going to come from if the industry was not profitable.

“It has got to be viable because we need to attract new entrants to the industry.”

If future changes were made to remuneration, Butterick said “it will be too late for Steve”.

The company was built on and driven by family values, and sponsored a range of community initiatives including rugby teams, Te Wharau Dog Trials, Fernridge School Hunt and the Cancer Society’s Daffodil Run.

Not only was the trucking business long-standing, one employee had worked there as a driver since 1976.

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