Clements Contractors' digger driver Riki Lum won the Northland Excavator Operator Competition at the Whangarei A&P Show earlier this month, collecting prizes including a $600 toolbox donated by Transtune and BNT, $250 in cash donated by Firth, and a jacket, hats, cups, pens and magazines donated by Cable Price.

Competitors using their excavators to pour tea, move an uncooked egg, slam dunk a basketball, stack tyres up to 10 high, and carry a glass of water placed on a manhole lid. Competitors also had to demonstrate a good knowledge of health and safety precautions and planning as well as an overall positive attitude.

Lum, who works for Clements Contractors in Whangārei, was defending the title he won for the first time last year and again demonstrated his superlative skills in operating his machine. With a 'great crew' to support him, he said he was delighted to defend the title, which he put down to good preparation, experience and hard work.

Runner-up Bryce Coughlan also works for Clements Contractors, so they also won the team award.

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Whangarei A&P Society chief executive Chris Mason said the excavator competition delighted audiences and added a great bit of theatre. "It demonstrates heavy machinery in action, which is a staple part of rural life."