A truck driver who has clocked up 50 years continuous service reckons he still has plenty of kilometres left in his tank.
Peter Bonner, more commonly known as Pete, Spud, or even Peter Perfect to some, has worked for Aitken Transport for 50 years this month.
"He's a real legend."
Ron Wheeler, who owned the company in partnership with Pete back in the 1980s when it was known as Aitken Bros, is full of praise for Pete's work ethic.
"He's the most professional driver I've ever known. He's just very, very good at what he does."
Ron has known Pete "all his life" and remembers Pete first starting work as a truck driver five decades ago.
"He joined the company before he was 18 so they got him a special licence so he could drive the trucks ... being a truck driver was always what he wanted to do."
Over the years, Pete's reputation as being among the best in the business has continued to grow, he says.
"I remember when I used to sometimes do the run out to the freezing works. I would get there and they would look at me and say, 'oh, it's you today, where's Peter Perfect?' They all liked it when Pete did the run because he was just so good, he would have all the paperwork done right and his truck is always perfect too."
Local couple Ali and Debbie Stewart, who now own Aitken Transport, agree, saying Pete's high standards have never dropped and his experience and work ethic were invaluable to them when they purchased the business.
Pete's driving record is impeccable, and his name appears regularly at the top of the list when it comes to stats on driver safety, timing and following road rules and speed limits, says Ali.
Pete's driving and stock handling skills are a credit to him, with his current truck and trailer unit always tidy and "looking practically like new". That's no mean feat considering he's travelling the challenging roads daily out east with many pickup yards and tracks tough to navigate, Ali says.
He says while February marks Pete's 50 years working with the company, as well as his own 66th birthday, "Pete reckons he has a few more years in him yet".
That's good news for the company, Ali adds, saying he, Debbie, dispatch manager Miles Waite, along with the rest of the Aitkens Transport team, benefit from Pete's experience.
"It is particularly rare to work for 50 years continued employment in this type of work," says Miles.
"Spud is our senior driver and has large respect from everyone in the company along with generations of farmers and stock agents across New Zealand. His knowledge and experience is unequalled in the back country of Eastern Taranaki."
"He's known all over the North Island, he's a real book of knowledge," says Ron, who also describes Pete as being "a bit of a character".
Ron recalls one incident, many years ago, when after getting his thumb stuck when fixing a spring and subsequently getting a blood blister, someone told Pete to go to grab a needle from the first aid box to sort it.
"He didn't though, he stood there in the workshop and saw the drill press ... used that instead."
You've got to be tough, as well as dedicated, to spend so many years working in the industry says Ron.
"It's the toughest job, driving a livestock truck. It's really hard work with 14 to 18 hour days, seven days a week, so to do it for so long, and have the respect of everyone he works with, that makes him a real legend."