About LW Bonney and Sons
In 1984 Calven Bonney bought the L.W.Bonney business from Uncle Selwyn and Dad Alven Bonney. He started with just three trucks and bought a fourth truck on the same day the International Paystar.
LWB currently boasts around 80 tankers of all shapes and sizes, including four B-Trains and what Calven loosley refers to as "all sorts of odds and ends" - tankers made for very specific jobs. Some of the tankers cart vegetable oil from the wharf to packing houses and margarine manufacturers. Others pick up tallow from all around the country and take it to the wharf for export. Then there are others carrying grapes, wine and milk and still more moving paint resins from Auckland to Wellington.
In addition to the tankers theres probably another 80 trailers, loaders and the like. The variety in the gear shows in the five or six swinglifts, skeletal trailers, flat tops, container-tipping trailers, tippers used for bulk metal, others for scrap and yet another dedicated to "chicken-shit" namely carting it from chicken farms and putting it on farmland.
In 1993 Frieghtliners came along and now the company have nine Freightliners in the fleet. They also have a Renault and a couple of Nissans.
Today the company base is on the Great South Road at Penrose. There are 7.5 acres in one block and across the road there are another 4.5 acres. The complex includes offices, workshop and 25,000 square feet of storage and wharehousing where containers are delivered and their contents de-vanned for redistribution.
To keep tabs on it all the company has gone to a largely computerised despatch system in recent years.
The other part of the successful growth of LWB is having some good people working for it. People like fleet service manager Grant Herrick, and Ann Bonney - fulltime in the business since the beginning. People like Jack Dowling who started in Bonneys in 1962 and has come out of retirement to hlep them out. Then there is Alven Bonney who is still working in the workshop. Calven's father-in-law Les Rambuard, brother-in-law John Rudsits and sister Leigh all work in the family business.
While Calven was doing his apprenticeship at George Mayo & Son in Papatoetoe he became interested in motor racing. The boss, Merv Mayo, was into motor racing and the young Bonney started crewing for Denny Hulme in his NZ races. Its a love that carried into speedway racing in midgets, TQs and sprintcars and into the ultimate for a motor racing minded transport operator - truck racing. The 4th truck that Calven bought, the International Paystar, is now his racing truck. Calven credits his speedway and truck racing with giving added exposure to his business.
These days Calven spends a lot of time away from his desk in his work as president of the National Road Carriers and a director of the Road Transport Forum NZ.
Calven's dream when he started out ran to four new trucks and a farm - a big farm. "But we just got on the roundabout and things came to us - like the flour came back, the sugar came back, the companies I was offered and bought. I always wanted to be in this business - and so we had a crack at it".