Tractor and vehicle enthusiast Bruce Shaw, from Hamilton, enjoys sharing this aspect of New Zealand’s heritage – and appreciates the effort people put into preserving some of the fine old vehicles. His own contribution is a 1962 blue Ford Dexta, with a three-cylinder Perkins engine.
The ‘Dexta’, as she’s known, was delivered by Burgess Ford in Otorohanga. She started life on the family farm in Te Kawa, working in the hayfields, hooked up to a Kuhn mower, with a New Holland crimper behind that. At baling time she towed the Bamford long baler.
When Bruce left home for his own farm in Hamilton, he took the Dexta with him, and bought a Ford 4000 with a front-end loader. Bruce married Lyn, and had three children. The blue Dexta remained with the family as they moved to a dairy farm in Pokuru in 1971, and then to a 25 acre block near Te Awamutu in 1988.
“She’s a great hard worker,” says Bruce. “When I only needed one tractor, I sold the 4000, and kept the Dexta.”
By 2013 both Bruce and the Dexta were retired, and she was showing her age and looking a little neglected. Bruce now lived in town in Hamilton – but luckily his son Warren shares his passion for tractors and took the family tractor to his Pirongia home with the intention of restoring her.
“Initially we meant a tidy up,’ says Bruce. “But she ended up spending 18 months in the workshop being totally pulled apart and put back together, and every part of her being re-painted.”
Bruce is the first to admire the shining Dexta Blue paintwork, and appreciates the end result of his son’s enthusiasm. His thoughts on restoration are pragmatic.
“Half the people reckon you’re silly,” says Bruce. “It definitely costs a fortune and you don’t get your money back!”
Bruce and Warren are keen new members of the Otorohanga Vintage and Veteran Machinery Club, and participate in tractor treks, tractor pulls and haymaking. “She needs a good run every so often,” says Bruce.
Her most recent adventure was being on display at the 50th National Fieldays, where she had an amusing life story from her point of view pinned onto her. A little gesture of appreciation by Bruce for the initial hard work, and now pleasure that the Dexta has given him over the years.
Does your farm or your boss have a pet tractor? Or maybe a pet digger or bulldozer? If so, we’d love to hear about it! Email: email@example.com with a photo of it and a contact name and phone number. We might even throw a prize your way for a good yarn.