When Renee Matthews-Cooper turned up in her truck at one job, she was asked when her man would be arriving to do the work.

She's frequently asked by male farmers if she's okay and what they can do to help her. But Matthews-Cooper is in her element operating her hole drilling business by herself.

Matthews-Cooper and her father, Ted Matthews, bought a purpose-built mobile rig last year and set up Mac Hole Drillers, offering offal hole, soak hole and post hole digging services. It is a subsidiary of Matthews' business Balgownie Truck & Cranes.

"Dad and I bought the truck, not realising we would have the only offal truck in the region," Matthews-Cooper said.

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"The nearest ones are in Wairarapa and New Plymouth."

While her dad is involved, Matthews-Cooper says Mac Hole Drillers "is my baby and I'm doing it".

"I absolutely love it. I thought we'd struggle to get it off the ground but I started drilling in January and have done about 30 holes.

"It's old technology but it works and if something goes wrong it's easy to fix. We have a range of augers from 400mm to 1.2m and can drill up to 6m deep.

"For an offal hole, with what I'd call 'standard soil' it can be drilled and have a lid on in about one and a half to two hours. But if I'm drilling through blue papa it can take hours.

"We also supply the concrete lids for the holes. We get them from Whanganui Prison and Larsens Concrete."

Customers are often surprised when Renee Matthews-Cooper turns up to drill their offal pit.
Customers are often surprised when Renee Matthews-Cooper turns up to drill their offal pit.

When Matthews-Cooper isn't drilling holes, she's working in the family businesses, Balgownie Cranes and JDT Engineering which are located side by side in Hinau St. JDT Engineering is owned by her brother, Dan Matthews, and Matthews-Cooper helps out with anything from office work to welding (she did a fitting and welding apprenticeship when she left school).

An added bonus of the drilling business is that people are keen to keep on Matthews-Cooper's good side.

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"My friends say they had better not piss me off because I know where all the offal holes are around Whanganui."