For over 100 years the Robertson family has been transporting New Zealander’s and Overseas Visitors around Rotorua, the Bay of Plenty, the Waikato, and the North Island.
AN IDEA IS BORN
In 1914 Noel Robertson conceived the idea of operating a motor passenger service following a rather unusual set of circumstances. The Robertson family farmed near Wanganui and at that time Noel owned a 1913 Buick car. One day he was in Wanganui while the local race meeting was being held and following the 6th race two men wished to catch the North Express Train to Marton.
As they were unsuccessful in hiring a taxi, they asked Noel if he would take them. With the offer of five pounds and an hour and 40 odd kilometre journey Noel took up the challenge.
In those days the road was very rough and hard going but all went well until they were about a kilometre from the station with five minutes to spare when a back tyre blew. Normally this would mean the train would be missed but Noel, displaying great ingenuity said, “Grab your bags” to which his passengers replied, “What! You don’t think we’re going to run for it do you?” “No” Noel replied, “But see that Buick on the other side of the road? Hop into her: I will take the risk as you have to catch the train.” Noel reached the train just as it started to move.
His passengers threw him two pounds with the parting shot “pay for your fine with that if you get caught taking the car.” Noel later had some explaining to do when he got back to his own car but fortunately the owner of the ‘converted’ car was very decent. Noel slipped him a pound and a quick shared drink left no ill-feelings. Thus the germ of an idea for passenger services was sown.