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Feature Article

For the love of trucking

For Staci Kohe, trucking gives her the freedom she’s always wanted in a job. Delivering for wholesale food distributors Bidfood for the past eight months, she’s enjoyed tackling the challenges the industry throws at her, and loves being able to hit a bung note singing in her FUSO while she does so.

“Staying in the same place all day doesn’t appeal to me,” says Staci, who earned her Class 2 licence at Nelson Technical Institute before joining Bidfood.

She’s hasn’t looked back.

“I like to be out and about all day, seeing different faces, taking in the views, watching the sun rise. Time goes by quickly when you’re moving.”

Spending some time working at her daughter’s kohanga reo - taking the kids outdoors, doing different activities each day - Staci looked for a job that offered similar rewards.

When it comes to the physical demands of the job, the Tasman Mako women’s rugby player is in her element. “It’s definitely made me stronger. It feels good making a living doing physical tasks, and if I can’t make the gym one night, at least I wasn’t sitting around all day!”

With an eleven-year-old son and five-year-old daughter at home, trucking at Bidfood has let Staci meet the other commitments in her most important job — being a mother.

“I start at six in the morning, so I can finish in time to pick the kids up, and my partner can drop them off when he heads into work.

“If ever I’m running late, I can pick the kids up and then finish my route,” says Staci. “Now my daughter says she wants to drive a truck herself when she grows up. That’s pretty special.”

Nonetheless, Staci has faced no shortage of curious looks from those not accustomed to seeing a woman trucker. “Why should it surprise anyone?” she asks. “People sometimes joke about it, but for me, I’m happy showing that a woman can do the job well, and I know my customers want me to continue delivering to them, so I feel I’ve proven that.

“As a kid, I used to envy courier drivers delivering our mail, listening to their own music and constantly on the move. Now, to be in the driver’s seat with the air-con, personal space, and my own music going, it feels good to be able to sing along and hit wrong notes without a care in the world.”   

Staci has no intention of slowing down. In fact, she’s set her sights on stepping up a notch.

“I’d like to work up to my class 5 licence to expand my options, especially as the kids grow up and have more independence, allowing me to work more hours.”

Eager to take on big challenges and continue breaking barriers, Staci will continue proving doubters wrong and paving the way for young aspiring truckers — such as her daughter!  

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