A half-century of working closely with farmers and contractors has earned Paul Wilkins the Tractor and Machinery Association’s 2022 President’s Award for Service to the Industry.
Wilkins is MD of Paul Wilkins Tractors in Timaru. The business is the South Canterbury supplier of Valtra tractors and Krone forage equipment. It is also the New Zealand importer for number of other implement brands from Canada and Europe.
Tractor and Machinery Association (TAMA) president Kyle Baxter said it is always a privilege to receive the nominations for the annual president’s award. They present a snapshot of NZ history and illustrate how the agricultural industry has been shaped by the commitment and personal sacrifices of the people who supply farm machinery and keep it running throughout the year.
“Paul’s decades-long contribution to the ag machinery sector is a testament to his personal dedication to a very loyal customer base. His ability to form long-lasting relationships has benefited both his customers and suppliers,” Baxter said.
“It was a great honour to present this year’s award to Paul. It highlights his passion for agriculture and his willingness to go beyond the call of duty to support farmers when they need it.”
Hailing from Ashburton, Wilkins spent 10 years selling farm machinery before he and wife Andria set up Paul Wilkins Tractors in Timaru’s industrial suburb of Washdyke in 1978.
He attributes the success of their business to a loyal client base and the experienced and dedicated service people who make sure that machines keep running and spare parts are always available. They include his son Grant and daughter Debbie.
“Grant has been with the business for 36 years. He started as a mechanic and then moved into sales. He is now sales manager. Debbie runs the office along with two other employees, and she leads our parts department. Our other son, Craig, runs the family farm near Pleasant Point,” Wilkins said.
“We are also fortunate to have a really capable service manager, Nigel Harkness. Nigel has been with us for 16 years. Our service team now has eight mechanics, including one apprentice and one who is just off his apprenticeship.”
Product support and spare parts are the foundation of the business.
“We make sure our service technicians have good training on the latest machines and we maintain a big range of spare parts. A product is no use if it cannot be supported with good service. This approach has helped us maintain good relationships with the contractors and farmers who run our big units.
“When we deliver a new tractor, our service manager goes with it to make sure the customer understands how it is supposed to operate.”