NZ Dairy Summer 2021

96 | nzdairy RURAL SERVICES » Murray Smith Contractors 40-plus years of experience shows When Murray Smith first started contracting it was back in the 80’s working with his father who had a truck contracted directly to the Whangarei County Council as it was called back then. Murray kept that contract going for 15 years until the County Council amalgamated with the City Council and the work disappeared. “So then I did farmwork and built it up from there. We’ve been through 2 or 3 building booms which means plenty of house-sites and driveways, but we do all sorts,” says Murray. With 40-plus years of contracting under his belt it’s not surprising that nowadays Murray Smith Contractors own whatever machinery might be needed for a job whether it’s in a quarry, out on the farm, or doing the roading for a subdivision: diggers, trucks, bull-dozers, graders, rollers – the list goes on. Murray describes himself as a Jack-of-all-trades, and clearly enjoys putting his wide and varied skillset to work on whatever the job is at hand. “Every year’s different,” he says. “That’s why we do all sorts of work, that way when one dies off the other one comes around. When the pay-outs up we have plenty of dairy-farm work, another year it might be more for the beef industry.” When more stringent rules around dairy effluent came in Murray did a course on effluent design and effluent construction in 2012, building on the work he’d already been doing for many years. “That was very beneficial,” says Murray. “We learnt how to design a pond, taking into account the size you might need for the number of animals, the square metrage of concrete on the dairy platform and the volume of water and so on.” For Murray there’s more to like than just the job itself. “I like working with people, dealing with engineers, surveyors, farmers - everybody’s completely different, and that’s what I enjoy. You’ve got to be prepared to work with a new customer and give them what they want.” Some customers stand out more than others simply because they’re organized in advance. Recently Murray Smith Contractors have been working for Katrina Pearson on the dairy farm she runs west of Whangarei. “ We fully rebuilt her tanker track, did some farm drainage and some dairy effluent repair. She’s someone operators like going to work for,” says Murray, “because she’s well and truly organized. Just a few of the machines in Murray Smith’s fleet (above). Lowering a pool into place (below). She knows what she wants before we get there, clear instructions, and simple, job’s done.” Other jobs are all about precision such as when there’s a $10,000 fibre-glass pool that will be lowered into the hole Murray has carefully excavated and prepared ready for its arrival. As far as he’s concerned you’re only as good as your last job and he takes pride in making sure they’re something worth talking about, as do the two others that work with him to get the jobs done. Keith Hoffman ‘s been driving trucks for Murray Smith Contractors for 10 years, and Alan Ross has been the key man for tractor-trailer work for 15. In the absence of a third staff-member he’d be keen to employ if he could only find them, it’s up to Murray to manage the rest, including the all-important relationships with the sub-contractors they often work closely with to get the jobs done. “I’m the head driver, head engineer, and head all sorts on some jobs,” says Murray, “On others I rely on a good bunch of people,” says Murray. “They help me and I help them.” Supplying Northland farmers with lime and fertiliser since 1947 Contact Avoca 09 433 5720 email: - Specialists in customised fertiliser blends - Correct your soil pH - Maximise return on your fertiliser spend Proud suppliers to Murray Smith Contractors