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On the road for 45 years

Mayor Lyn Patterson and roading manager Hamish Pringle. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

After 45 years of looking after Masterton’s thoroughfares, Hamish Pringle is on the road to retirement.

The Masterton District Council roading manager started work as a graduate engineer at the end of November 1974, and will retire today, almost exactly 45 years after he started.

Things have changed a lot in that time – Pringle started with Masterton Borough Council, before the district council formed in 1989.

A Mastertonian born and bred, there’s a good reason Hamish has spent his entire working life here.

“Masterton is the best town in the world,” he said.

For many, roads may simply be a way to get from A to B, but for roading engineers, there is a lot more to it than that.

“Things are increasingly technological, and actually, roads and footpaths tend to be more in people’s consciousness than other infrastructure like sewerage and stormwater.

“I’ve really enjoyed the job. It’s sometimes quite challenging but I think working for the community is great.”

Hamish recalled Masterton’s experience with two sets of traffic lights, in place from 1973 to 1995.

“We used to have a chap come into the office and say, ‘the lights are on green in both directions’ – we’d go down in a panic to look and he’d say, ‘they must have sorted themselves out’.

“In reality, of course, it couldn’t really happen – there was a failsafe in place.”

Life from now on is more likely to focus on swings than roundabouts.

“I will have a lot more time to spend in the gardens and putting the finishing touches on renovations – started 15 years ago.

“And I’m looking forward to having more time to spend in the weekends with family and my seven grandies [grandkids].”

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