A Welsh exile revealed how he returned to his roots to build a thriving business on the other side of the world.
Businessman Hefin Lloyd Davies, 65, has set up a successful distributorship selling the market-leading products of Ifor Williams Trailers in New Zealand.
He was born in Carrog and brought up in Glyndyfrdwy, near Corwen, just a few miles down the road from where the iconic firm is based.
Hefin’s company, Southern Trailers, is based in the North Island town of Cambridge, and is part of a global network of 150 distributors.
The trailer firm, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, has factories in Cynwyd, Corwen, Sandycroft and on Deeside Industrial Estate, and employs more than 500 people.
Hefin says there is a growing demand in New Zealand for their products because of their impressive durability and he has high hopes for their two new flagship horseboxes.
He was “blown away” by the sleek lines of the HBX and HBE models.
The son of a sheep farmer, Hefin grew up with Ifor Williams Trailers and is both proud and passionate about the firm and being able to promote a Welsh business., He said: “I grew up in the next village and I know so many of the people who work there. It feels like we’re the closest to the company but the furthest away!
“I’ve been blown away by the new range. It’s exactly what we’ve been hoping for – it’s all about keeping up with the times.
“The demand for Ifor Williams trailers in New Zealand is growing all the time and I’ve no doubt the new range is going to be a huge success.”
Hefin, who stocks up to 200 trailers, started selling the trailers in New Zealand in 2005 and became a fully-fledged distributor five years later.
He added: “The new HBX and HBE horseboxes have maintained a lot of the same features and you carry the horses in the same way.
“But there is improvements to the suspension, reactiveness and basic structure. And they have such a modern look.
“In New Zealand we often get asked are they suitable for the conditions. We generally have tar-sealed roads and also dirt roads for miles.
“It was a challenge initially because people were sceptical if they weren’t New Zealand made.
“But Ifor Williams Trailers have taken off because they stand up to the rigours.
“There is no trailer out there worldwide up to three and a half tonnes that stands up to them and I’ve been to so many factories around the world.”
Hefin runs Southern Trailers with his partner Christine as well as James and Claire Boynton, originally from Warwickshire, who joined the business in 2011.
James had more than a decade of experience working with Ifor Williams Trailers before emigrating to New Zealand where he met Hefin and Christine because he wanted to purchase one of the firm’s trailers.
Hefin said: “He’d not long moved over and was looking for an Ifor Williams trailer. We sat down together for a couple of hours and the rest is history!
“We’re all very proud and passionate about the Ifor Williams brand and it comes over when we’re selling them.
“Personally, I’ve used them all my life and I knew they were the best so thought there was an opportunity to sell them in a country like New Zealand.
“People had been let down by imported goods in the past. But we’ve always looked long term.
“You’ve got to work at it and it takes time. You can promise the earth but you have to prove it. Ifor Williams has a very good reputation.”
Hefin is a former tractor mechanic and refrigeration engineer who set up his own company specialising in the sale of new and used lorry trailers.
The business started up in his home village and now operates from bases in Chester, Warrington and Lincolnshire.
Although Hefin still owns the company he is no longer involved in the running of it due to his venture in New Zealand.
Andy Reece-Jones, the design engineering manager at Ifor Williams Trailers, said: “We’re delighted that somebody with such enthusiasm and passion is running the distributorship in New Zealand.”