Described as a pioneer by those who knew him as a pioneer, local legend Fred Burling of Burling Transport died last Thursday at Wairarapa Hospital.

Wairarapa Road Transport Association chairman Graeme Reisima described the loss of Burling as a huge kauri falling in the transport industry.

“Fred was a pioneer in many ways and dedicated his life to transport and his clients through 60 years,” he said.

Reisima said Burling had begun his career in agricultural fertiliser spreading, then moving into general transport, logging cartage, and then into general freight cartage.

“He was a man who pushed his business to the forefront of new technologies – but always with his inimitable style.”

Reisima said Burling employed many drivers over the years and all could tell a yarn about his managerial style that revolved around making the most use of the day and the specifications of the truck.

Fred cared deeply about his clients and always managed to cater to their requirements, despite what other pressures and obstacles were put in his way.

Burling and his business was a generous sponsor to many organisations and sports clubs, with an emphasis on young people and their interests.

Notably, Burling is remembered as a strong supporter of East Coast rugby. He was one of the longest standing supporters of the club.

Although Burling Transport was well known in Wairarapa, Burling’s company is also known across New Zealand.

Reisima said Burling’s legacy would continue with his business, having solid foundations and an established reputation for getting the job done.

Burling’s memorial service were held at the Carterton Events Centre yesterday.