A personal connection with the Taylor family provided operator Jock Peter’s initial introduction to working in the business in 2003. Twenty years later Jock is proud to still be supporting the Taylors, having made a contribution to some of the business’ most iconic projects around the South Island.
“I knew Bob and Marlene and I had worked with Charlie when I was working for a business moving houses. Charlie was our pilot,” says Jock.
Jock’s brother-in-law put Matt and Charlie in touch with Jock when they were looking for someone to do various projects. At the time there were about 50 employees in the business. “At that stage they had odd jobs and bits and pieces to do. There was a wall to build in the workshop and I started as their odd-job handyman. The next job was the tanker bay.”
Within a few months Jock found himself operating a dump truck in East Takaka before heading down to start the original work at Kate Valley with Ferg Shirtcliffe. “I worked on the sub-soil drains at the bottom of the gully. We had about a kilometre of 180HDPE pipe to put in. There were two pipes on top of each other plus 110mm laterals up the gullies on each side at varying distances. As the stages at Kate Valley went on I was sort of left to do all the 100mm laterals on my own up the sides. I dug that all in with a 7.5-tonne digger.”
Being an automotive diesel mechanic by trade has come in handy, says Jock, as he could turn his hand to running repairs when needed. “I remember sitting on the 550 one morning welding the exhaust back together so we could get going! I was a bit of a Jack of all Trades and it’s gone from there.”
The variety of work has kept Jock interested over the years, including operating a range of machines and working in some stunning locations, such as Tekapo.
“Going to Tekapo to work there was unbelievable, fixing up the canals. It’s just vast and so quiet and there’s a lot of history there too. Working in mid-Canterbury on the Central Plains Water intake and canal and being camped up in Methven, we had some fun there!”
Jock says that the Taylors family have always been generous and looked after him. “Matt and Charlie have never been frightened to shout. It’s been a journey. There’s been some downs but there’s been more ups. We’ve had some laughs.”
For Jock, having been involved in Kate Valley for an extended period has been really satisfying. “Up until about 2016 I hadn’t missed a stage there, I’d been involved in every stage, and a couple by myself. We even worked through Christmas one year. As a company we’ve been kept working there and that’s a mark of the people that I’ve worked with, that have come and gone. We set a fairly good standard and we come up to it, which is why they keep asking us to stay there or come back.”
With a passion for restoring vintage machinery, especially tractors, Jock likes to keep busy in his spare time and is a keen member of the Nelson Vintage Machinery Club based at the Pigeon Valley Museum.
“I like to keep busy in the garden and with my tractors. I’ve got six of them. three 2EAS, two 35 Grey and Golds and a 65.”
While Jock is keen to spend more time with his family and growing grandchildren spread around the South Island, he doesn’t see himself retiring anytime soon.
Jock says he enjoys the Taylors culture and the way everyone works together.
“There’s been a few changes but the good ones stay. Taylors have been exceptionally good to me on the personal side of things. They ask you to do a job and I’m the type of person I try and do a job the best I can with what’s been given to me. It’s quite good, at times I’ve been given a bit of responsibility, and I hope I’ve carried it out to the standard that’s required.”
Jock’s workmates clearly hold him in high esteem. Evidence of this was the sticker with the message ‘what would Jock do?’ that they had made and stuck on their hardhats on a recent project. “That sums up Jock,” said Taylors Contracting Nelson Civil Department Manager Robbie Swarbrick.