November 1, 2019 4:32 pm

The national final of the Hino New Zealand Skills Contest was held in Auckland on the 23rd October 2019 to determine New Zealand’s top Hino technician.

The competition, jointly run between Hino Distributors NZ and its after sales support partner, Truckstops, saw 38 Truckstops technicians test their knowledge of the Hino product with the top three making the national finals.

Nathan Douglas (Truckstops Wellington), Aniceto Dimaculangan (Truckstops Auckland) and Heidi Inkster (Truckstops Wellington) each worked hard for 3 hours to find and fix faults on 300, 500 and 700 Series Hino trucks.  The competition was friendly but fierce with each contestant intent on taking out first place.

At the awards dinner, Darren Salt (General Manager, Hino NZ) announced that by the narrowest of margins, Heidi Inkster took first place – for the second consecutive year, with Nathan Douglas second. It was extremely close between all three contestants with Heidi and Nathan on the same points requiring the stopwatch to determine a winner.

“The three finalists this year worked to a very high standard and did an amazing job under pressure” says Simon Wilson, Hino NZ’s Technical Manager. “It’s not easy identifying and fixing faults when there is a live audience, a judge watching your every move and a camera strapped to your head!”

Darren Salt, Hino NZ’s General Manager said “2019 has been an exciting year for Hino New Zealand with the introduction of the new 500 Series Standard Cab and the raft of safety features it brings to the market. Our skills contest provides us with an opportunity to raise the technical knowledge across our entire after-sales network for current and new product.”

The Truckstops top apprentice was also recognised with Nicola Kaliopasi (Truckstops Auckland) taking out first place.

”“We were pleased to see a number of apprentices competing in this year’s event and felt it important to specifically recognise Nico for his efforts” said Kevin Smith Truckstops General Manager. “Our Apprenticeship Program, supported by our National Development Centre, allows us to nurture and develop our people by providing a clear and rewarding career path across the Truckstops nationwide network”.

The event was also supported by Hino Japan. Masahide Kagawa (Senior General Manager) and Kazutoshi Watanabe (Manager) from Hino Motors Ltd made the trip from Japan specifically for the event.

Darren said “We are extremely focused on providing a high level of service – both sales and after sales – to our Hino customers and to achieve this we must work together. This event, supported by Hino Japan, builds upon the strong relationship between Hino NZ and our after-sales support partner, Truckstops”.

Nathan has been invited to attend Hino Australia’s event in November to go head to head with one of Australia’s top Hino technicians and Heidi will attend the world prize giving in Japan early next year.