A steadfast man with experience, knowledge and a commitment to his community
Brian Morgan has a rich history and is an integral part of the Tauhei community. In 1962, Brian began working at what was then the Waikato District Council quarry in Tauhei. Almost 60 years later Brian continues to demonstrate his strong work ethic and reliability as a water cart driver for Stevenson. His experience, knowledge and steadfastness make Brian a valuable and respected member of the Stevenson team.
It is a short commute to work for Brian as he lives only 2 k away from the quarry. Brian’s job as a water cart driver sees him being responsible for keeping the dust down on site and on the products that are going out on the road. Because the quarry is a dusty environment it is important to suppress the dust to ensure safer driving conditions for Brian and his Workmates.
Brian’s quarrying career began as a loader driver at Tauhei when he was just 20 years old. His first machine was a 10RB Face Shovel then some years later a 305Nck, just one yard bucket loading a dump truck and the occasional road truck. Brian also drove a 30-face rope shovel and operated machinery at the crushing plant. In 1968, Brian took on the role of foreman, a job he really enjoyed doing as he spent a lot of his time teaching the new employees. Not long after, Brian was offered the role of supervisor.
Brian hired and operated drilling rigs, measured and loaded drill holes and also carried out the blasting of rock where he would light the safety wick and then scramble to safety. In those days the safety point for everyone was outside of the quarry drive entrance. As Brian puts it, “Mobile machinery and crusher plants have thankfully been updated to what we have today. Drilling and blasting are performed by experts and safety is ultimately at the top of Stevenson’s list.”
Over the years Tauhei quarry has had several owners including the Waikato District Council, the Waikato County Council, Perry Group, Tanlaw Corporation, Fulton Hogan and Stevenson. Brian has worked with many quarry managers along the way and has seen a lot of change, especially in the area of machinery and technology.
“The technology and machinery available today have improved greatly, it is amazing. Back in the day, the quarries had old second-hand equipment and now they have the latest loaders with air conditioning. When I was a loader driver I didn’t even have a cab on my loader. My boss would hand me a raincoat and a rain hat and say here’s your canopy. If those old managers could see us today they wouldn’t believe it.”
It takes a team of 14 to run Tauhei quarry and Brian enjoys it when the managers and bosses come out to visit the team. They all get along really well. One of those team members happens to be Brian’s partner Barbara Heta. Weighbridge Operator Barbara joined Tauhei about 41 years ago when Brian met her at the local timber sawmill and recruited her as an office clerk. Brian and Barbara enjoy working together and with their years of work combined they have contributed to over 100 years of service to the Tauhei quarry!
Barbara says, “Companies have passed through, staff have come and gone and systems have changed, but through it all, we have had many great times reminiscing about these moments. I am fortunate to have the unified support of administration, accounts, transport and sales staff. I am so very grateful to them all. Their support is why I enjoy what I do.”
With 60 years of employment under his belt, Brian has seen his fair share of people come and go. “During the 60s and 70s, we were looking for labour at the quarry so my boss would send me out on the road to look for men who wanted to work. I remember a man went past on his pushbike so I chased after him and asked him if he wanted a job. He asked me when he would start and I told him now, there’s a pair of boots waiting for you at the quarry. We would give them a job right then and there.”
Brian is part of the local iwi and has strong ties to the Tauhei farming community. His parents moved to Tauhei, a predominantly Māori community in the 1940s. “I grew up in a close community where we all knew each other. I was one of the first Pakeha men to work at the quarry, and we were like family. When the quarry was owned by the council the ratepayers had a share. As a ratepayer, you have big interests in the development and the plans of the quarry and how that impacts the local community.”
Brian is actively involved with the local Tauhei Huimai Marae. He worked alongside Kaumatua George Hopa, Jim Pene and many tradesmen on the new building that was transported from Turangi.
Barbara comments, “He volunteered many hours helping to bring this building and its facilities up to legal standard. Through the goodwill of previous quarry owners, tools and supplies were provided to the marae when they were required.” Stevenson has continued to provide this generous service to the iwi and the local community.
To this day, the local iwi embraces Brian as one of their own Kaumatua. Brian says, “Tauhei quarry has always maintained a super relationship with the people of Tauhei Huimai Marae and the local farming community.”
Along with community, the environment is also very important to Brian. The team at Tauhei help to reduce the impact of quarrying on the land by growing trees, grasses and vegetation which are planted around the quarry.
Brian works a 40-hour week in an industry he continues to enjoy to this very day. Today, the team at Tauhei quarry are like family to Brian.
Rodger Jones, the Regional Manager for Waikato and the Bay of Plenty says, “It’s always a pleasure to talk to Brian about what’s going on in the world, and how the quarries are performing. He will always offer some good advice on any subject, everything from who the next All Black number 7 should be, to how we could improve a grading on a product.”
Brian is humbled to be called Matua by the staff and proud to be working alongside the young team of quarry workers, acknowledging it takes a good team to successfully operate Tauhei quarry.
“When Brian decides to hang up his hard hat and retire, it will be a sad day for all of us as we will miss being greeted at the front table of the smoko room by Brian’s beaming smile and quick wit. However, we will be buoyed by the fact that he is only 2 km down the road if we want to know where to find something within the quarry,” says Rodger.
“Brian is a very humble unassuming man who is always willing to help where he can.”Rodger Jones, Regional Manager Waikato/Bay of Plenty
Brian and Barbara enjoy working together and with their years of work combined they have contributed to over 100 years of service to the Tauhei quarry!