Ingenuity & teamwork drive Christchurch’s world-class Top Team

Posted on: Tuesday, 12 December 2017

“It might lead back to the old Kiwi ‘number 8 wire’ mindset of ‘give it a go and make it work’,” says team captain Steve Watts, when asked why service technicians in New Zealand are among the world’s best. “I guess down here, if you have to get something done and you haven’t got all the parts and services you need, you just do what you need to do.”

The number 8 wire attitude has become part of the cultural lexicon of New Zealand, and refers to a kind of steel wiring originally used to make fences. The wire became a symbol of Kiwi ingenuity as New Zealanders proceeded to find a whole range of other innovative uses for it.

“Here in New Zealand, they tend to overhaul things instead of replacing stuff,” explains Dave Van Schie, a Dutch team member who previously worked for Scania in the Netherlands. “They actually take things apart and understand how they really work.”

For team member Michael Long, their success is dependent on teamwork. “The guys, they’re like family,” he says. “So when somebody’s stuck and trying to get through a job, everyone pitches in and helps them out.”

The crew won’t be representing New Zealand at Top Team in 2018, after losing this year’s national final to rivals Whangarei, who placed second at the world finals in 2013. However, Long says that the experience and training involved in being part of Scania Top Team will have a lasting impact. “The amount of knowledge and skills we gained from doing Top Team, and the preparation we had to put in to get as far as we did to win it, has helped everyone in the workshop,” he says, explaining that the team members have become a valuable resource for other technicians when they encounter difficult problems.