To mark Bill’s birthday, we’re honouring everything family this week.
Today, we’re remembering Harold Richardson, the oldest of Bill and Shona’s two children. Harold was the heir apparent to the family company HW Richardson.
Born in August 1966, Harold was keen to follow in their father’s footsteps from a young age, his sister Joc O’Donnell says.
Harold was lucky enough to have a photographic memory and, as an avid reader, he had an incredible general knowledge. When he was young, he was even able to recite licence plate numbers from trucks in the Southern Transport yard to his father, without even being asked to memorise them.
“He was very deeply entrenched in the business. He absolutely lived and breathed it,” she says.
Harold worked in various jobs throughout the business, beginning as soon as he left school. He began working in the company’s concrete products business in Invercargill before moving onto a concrete laboratory, driving trucks and even did a stint in Wellington, where he was involved in building a concrete plant for the Happy Valley firm Capital Concrete, before returning home to the south.
In many ways, Harold and his father Bill were two peas in a pod. Aside from their shared knack for the business, Harold and his father both loved wheels. While Bill was a big fan of trucks, his son had a special affinity for Citroens – so much so that, for his fifteenth birthday, Shona and Bill gifted their eldest child with a 1954 Citroen Big 15.
“This car was Harold’s pride and joy: he spent a lot of his teenage years refurbishing it, and he was incredibly proud of it. It’s funny: my son Harrison also has a fascination with Citroens, and the others within our collection belong to him,” Joc says.
“It’s quite special that Harold’s love for Citroens has been carried on by the next generation. I think he’d be quite proud of that.”
Tragically, Harold was killed at the age of 29 in 1995 as he was doing a tour of the company’s various concrete operations in the North Island.
“Our family was devastated, and that’s when Dad really threw himself into his collecting of trucks and spending more time amongst his collection,” Joc says.
There are many touches within the collection that honour him, including Harold’s Shed, the Hayley Westenra song that plays as visitors enter Bill’s Shed (music from the Kiwi songstress played at Harold’s wedding to wife Julie) and the Citroen Big 15 he restored. Some of the trucks he personally selected for Southern Transport – including a 1971 Leyland Crusader F41 and a 1994 Kenworth T950 – are also housed within the collection, as is Harold’s personal vehicle, an XJ12 Jaguar.