Jilesen Contractors

The Jilesen family has been a prominent feature in the Taumarunui area for many years. Tony senior and his wife Christine bought up their three young sons, Martien, Tony junior and Henry. After Tony senior purchased a D47U caterpillar dozer the boys spent many years breaking in the land in the Waimiha area with their father.

The boys had attended Waimiha primary school before moving on to high school in Taumarunui until they reached the age of 16.

Tony Jilesen

Tony Jilesen

After they had spent most of their childhood around dad’s machinery, Martien and Tony decided to move down to Wellington to work for John McJarrow, who at the time was a major earthworks contractor in the lower north island.

Both boys gained extensive experience operating and understanding a variety of earthmoving machinery until 1982 when they both decided to move back to Waimiha and that is when Martien made his first venture into the competitive world of contracting when he purchased his first digger. It was a 20 tonne caterpillar 215.

“I remember it very well” Martien said “it was delivered on the 8th of March 1984 and was the first 20 tonne digger in the king country area. It gave us a much wider capability along with dad and his dozer’s so we could start tendering for drainage and roading work in addition to ground clearing and development”.

With most of the ground clearing work coming to an end, the digger filled an increasing gap in the type of work available to the family team.

In 1989 Tony Jr and Martien decided to do their own thing and formed Jilesen contractors ltd and it was a move away from the Tony senior property in Waimiha to a piece of land Tony Jr had previously purchased in Ongarue.

This new depot rapidly became too small for the new company so the boys purchased the ex shell depot in bell road in Taumarunui which is where Jilesen contractors ltd is still located today.

By 1990 a number of earth working machines had been purchased along the way to cater for road and site construction and work obtained for the railways in the king country region. The problem of transporting machines from one site to another became serious so a policy decision was made to purchase their own transporter.

A second hand 1980 R series Mack with a three-rows-of-4 MTE low loader was purchased in 1990 and an additional decision was made that year to start to purchase the company’s own trucks to service the contracting work.

Jilesen contractors then purchased its second serious truck, a Mitsubishi FV 320, in 1992. A bulk body was manufactured and fitted by Cambridge welding and two years later the same company built a three axle trailer and the rig went to work as part of the developing Jilesen contractors business.

A new Mitsubishi FV350 was purchased and in 2001 another 350 was fitted to a TRT three axle trailer.

The next step was to replace the R model tractor with a CH Mack purchased from Jurgens in Wanganui but the r model remained in the fleet doing less demanding work.

Martien Jilesen

Martien Jilesen

In 2007 Martien and Tony decided both of the Mack’s were to be sold and in their place a new Kenworth T908 was purchased which has become the pride of the fleet. It was fitted to an MTE 3-rows-of-4 trailer but was later found to have limited weight and width capacity. Jilesen contractors had by now purchased some machinery which weighed in at over 30tonnes.

So the smaller trailer was replaced by a 3-rows-of-8 widener trailer set up with hydraulic winch, hydraulic ramps and a hydraulic goose neck.

2009 also saw the purchase of a new Kenworth T408 SAR bulk truck combined with a bulk 4 axle aluminium trailer built by Transfleet. This went to work servicing the king country quarry operation that had been purchased by Jilesen contractors in 2007.

“It was a logical move to purchase the quarry which came with all of its consents and certificates required to operate it”. Martien said.

Two trucks came with the purchase. A Hino which is still in the Jilesen fleet and a Mitsubishi that was traded on the SAR.

Two more Mitsubishi’s have been purchased. They were both FV430’s with one in 2004 being set up by Cambridge welding including the 4 axle trailer and the other in 2006 was manufactured by Gary Kidd engineering in Taumarunui.

Tony Jr noted that the company makes a conscious effort to keep all of the gear in top working condition and as modern and practical according to cash flow.

The company owns 28 machines including mobile crushers, 8 trucks, and 3 quarries and employs a staff of 35 including management.

Martien loves to spend most of his time driving machines and combining with Tony Jr in all policy decisions. 

Jilesen contractors have their own workshops at the depot and all maintenance work except for major overhauls are carried out by employed mechanics.

The combination of two brothers operating a large contracting business with a fleet of trucks presents a situation where conflict may well occur, but, in this instant, it doesn’t.

“We seem to co-operate well and if a difference of opinion crops up, we somehow seem to find a relatively simple solution without getting to dislike one another” Martien said.

Tony added that they have slightly different areas of administration so they don’t get into much strife.

Jilesen contractors ltd is a well structured operation working to give a quality service operating quality machinery and trucks in the king country region and looks to be well set up for the future.