Taylors Tractor Service

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Welcome to Taylors Tractor Services, Bell Rd, Taumaranui 1956-1970

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My dad is Terry Taylor and we decided to create this page to encourage anyone who worked for Terry, purchased a tractor from him, remembers stories or events related to the company or just want to catch up with Terry.
I invite anyone to email me at shane.t@clear.net.nz or use the contacts page on this web site. To send photos, stories or even want to phone Terry for a chat.
Terry is still very active and happily living at Pleasant Point Timaru. After leaving Taumaranui in 1970 he milked cows in Northland for many years and then some 20years ago he and his wife Adriene moved south. He has since raised successful race horses. He is a keen competitive Badminton and Tennis player and has headed many a failing club to prosper. So even at 80 he still has the drive and determination you probably remember him for.
Just a foot note: Terry also took the office girl when he left Goughs in 1956, she was Lorraine Toomer whom he married and had 3 children, Debbie, myself and my younger brother Craig. Sadly Lorraine died in 1973 at 36yrs old. (written by Barry Shane Taylor born 1961)


Terry Taylor 1956

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Words from Terry

I started Taylors Tractor Services in 1956 following an apprenticeship at Goughs in Taumaranui after moving over from Hawkes Bay. The Wairapa Timber Co offered to set me up with a workshop in opposition to Gough Gough and Hammer who currently had all their work, 4x D7 Catapilla machines. So from day one with their work I was putting in 14hr days 6 days a week. I soon had to employ an apprentice Les Mott but we still couldn't keep up with the work in the bush and back at our new workshop.
Within a short time we were servicing all the crawler tractors around the King Country of all makes and models, of course at this time there were 27 working native timber mills in the area. Unfortunately for Goughs we were taking most of their work so this did not sit well as the new opposition in town. So the staff grew, and grew to a total of 17. I forget some of the names but there was Rob May who was foreman, Colin Jackson, Les Mott, Jim Mantell, Wyn Burgess, Barry Donovan, Brian Waller, Jennie and another girl in the office, Alf the storeman.
The building got a new front showroom, then later another facelift. A covered garaging down one side of the yard and newer trucks, even a forklift.
We took on the Massy Fergusson dealership and sold and serviced tractors all around the greater King Country area. During the 60's the market started to change. Pine Timber took over most of the mill work and all but one closed down. This being Hutt Timber and Hardware so we had to look for work with the farmers who mostly had wheel tractors. Most of the crawlers had gone.
As this declined so did the work and staff, some went off to other towns. Taumaranui was also losing its core with the railways declining, a few other large employers closing and the loss of surrounding mills. I had my core group of loyal farmers but the big work had dried up. I then purchased a Massy Furgusson crawler and got a contract with MOW which lasted 2 years before I sold it to Thornborough. By this time the writing was on the wall and I had always had the desire to go farming so when a buy-out opportunity came my way I moved the family to Whangarei to share milk, then buying my own farm.
I have many great memories of those early mill years and the staff at Taylors Tractor Services. Thanks for visiting this little page of history and add if you can.

Regards Terry Taylor 

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Hi Shane,

I stumbled across your TTS story by chance checking up on my own new website, barrydonovan.co.nz  when I spotted my name in your write up. I began working for Terry in 1967, straight from school as an apprentice. It was near the end of the heavy machinery era that you wrote about but we still did a few repairs to them. Then wheel tractors became the norm.

The welding shop guys inc.   Wyn Burgess, Dick Reed and Rex Mayor spent many hours maintaining the metal crusher of Wilkins and Davies as well as being active with the building of the towns Railway goods shed. It’s a good thing OSH and Co weren’t around then.

Along with being taught how to become a mechanic, I also spent some time on the little MF crawler working for the MOW, was involved with the logging operation at Ongarue, rotary hoeing gardens for many folks around the town and mole ploughing alkathene pipes at Waimiha.

I do recall a couple of occasions when your old man would take me in an old banger of a truck he had traded, to deliver a wheel tractor or pick up a small dozer. It was white knuckle stuff and my brake foot was always hard down on the passenger side because your old man had no fear, just a grin from ear to ear as we flew around some windy metal country roads. I kid you not.

A correction to the list of staff was Brian Waller, not Waddell and the office girls I remember were Jim Mantells wife Yvonne and Jennie Paora. Other staff were Stan Green and Kevin Bateman in the parts with Alf Wensor and Tom Crawford, Bruce Wilton, Manny Beauchamp to name a few.

My, hasn’t Bell Road changed since that photo was taken. If only the old town was still as prosperous now as it was then.

After Terry, the business changed hands a couple of times before going into receivership so I bought what was left of it from the receiver in 1978 and continued the servicing side until I sold about 12 years ago. I still live here and have built up a small contracting business and have no regrets that I no longer service farm machinery.

Please pass on my regards to Terry and your piece has stirred up some fond memories of good times past.


Barry Donovan.


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A Few pictures from that era

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Terry with his grandchild Lyla in 2015

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