We Love Trucks and Drivers Profile: Matthew McLeely

This week I caught up with Matthew McLeely from McKay Cartage in Gisborne. Matt was great to chat to and had some great insights about being a young driver in the industry and why it’s a great career choice!

Matts boss Kevin McKay wrote into Road Torque to tell us about Matt and why he deserves to be recognised!

“Matthew is a dedicated and forward-thinking driver who is always willing to assist others and is very proactive in the maintenance of the network he operates within.

He is courteous and cheerful, which makes sharing the road with Matty a pleasure.  Local bus drivers, residence and other truckies alike all have nothing but praise for him.

Matty takes pride in his truck, his work and himself, operating with accuracy and innovation.

He is a great young driver with a bright future ahead.”


Name: Matthew McLeely

Age: 27

Years in the Industry: 7 years

Current Employer: McKay Cartage


How did you get started in the industry?

I started washing stock trucks, hosing s**t around. That’s my earliest experience yeah driving around the Farmers Transport Gisborne yard learning how to drive.

It’s a good industry here on the east coast, I went from there to forestry roading for 4 years, doing the roads, spreading the metal and that. Now I’ve been bulk carting metal with Kevin McKay now for about 2 years.

There’s no real history of driving in my family, it just looked like a really good opportunity for me to get into the industry. It’s a pretty big industry here on the East Coast, so I’m pretty much set up for the next thirty years at least.


What do you enjoy most about working in the industry?

I like all of it aye. It's pretty nice being able to drive out on the backcountry, there is a lot of nice scenery out here, looking out at Mt. Hikurangi and all that. You get to know people out here too you know, all the farmers and drivers and everything. There are a lot of good people around.

The roads are nice here too, well the fact that they are open roads, they are out of the way not in the city. It's not like driving in Auckland. I did that for a while, I drove one of those 8-wheeler mobile helicopter pads for a while that was pretty good, I just couldn’t stand driving in Auckland.

I mostly cart up into the forests now.


What's the biggest change you’ve seen in the industry in the last seven years?

It’d have to be the demand for wood to get to the port. The demand for metal and stuff is huge, and the opportunities in forestry is huge at the moment.

What do you drive now?

700 series Hino. It’s the last of McKay Cartage fleet of Hino’s, he’s gone to Kenworth now. I love the old Hino though, I’m not much of a bonnet guy. I like the cab over, I like the view you get, especially around gateways and tricky corners and that. 

What do you dislike most about the industry?

It’s the Gisborne District Council’s failure to hire an overseas roading company. We are driving on some really crappy roads here, it was a massive failure here with the roading. Hopefully, we see some big changes on council roads because my boss obviously pays a huge amount of RUC. It’d be nice to see some of that money go into our roads down here.

You look at the forestry roads, they are just so much better maintained than the council roads. The government needs to spend some money on that, not on some ‘Skybridge’ thing for pedestrians and cyclists going over the harbour bridge in Auckland.

They say that heavy vehicles are wrecking the roads but we are paying to use them, the money should be going into fixing them. 

Where’s your favourite drive?

Probably carting out of the Puketoa quarry because there is bugger all traffic and good scenery.

What kind of advice would you give to a younger person wanting to get into the industry?

Oh yeah definitely do it! It’s a huge opportunity, it's not just driving you can do a huge range of things but its best to get all your licences so you know what's going on. Farming isn’t as big on the East Coast now, people should look at getting their heavy transport licences just gotta stay safe out there, don’t get DIC’d or anything like that first. 

Do you enjoy the challenge of driving?

Yeah its great, I’ve driven manual and autos and its good to learn both. They handle differently in different terrain and situations so its good to know how to do both. Autos can be rubbish in steep terrain, manual is a lot better for off the beaten track. 

Has there been any new technologies thrown at you recently?

Yeah, we actually just had dashcams put into the trucks. We had one of our trucks hit by a logger, there were arguments there on what happened. Dashcams mean that we can see what happened. Also, with the number of idiots out there in their runabouts, there's heroes out there that do dangerous stuff and crash into trucks. People point to the truck driver all the time when often they’ve done nothing wrong. Dashcams help us prove that kind of stuff, that the driver wasn’t at fault.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published