Kiwi Tarp fixers keep the show on the road

February 28, 2022

The next time you are sitting behind a big rig on the highway, take a look at the tarpaulin covering its load. It might be a Kiwi Tarp, held together thanks to the hard work of Brittany and Anthony.

Brittany Hoyle from Maungaturoto, a small Northland town, has just landed a permanent job with Kiwi Tarp, a manufacturer of retractable truck tarpaulins. She started with the company on work
experience in 2020, and has become an essential part of the team, putting together hardware and bolt kits for the guys out on the road installing the truck tarpaulins.

Kiwi Tarp is part of the CPL Group based in Kaiwaka, and Director Bernie Stewart says they were aware that Brittany, who has Down syndrome, was close to finishing school and got in touch with her parents.

Bernie has a sister-in-law of a similar age to Brittany with Down syndrome and was aware that finding work was not going to be easy for her.

It came at exactly the right time for Brittany. At 19 she is the youngest of 12 in the Hoyle family, and with the recent weddings of two sisters, she was the last one at home with mum and dad. “She is now a proud aunty, 19 times over,” says her mum, Sherilyn Hoyle.

Sherilyn says it was the right decision for Brittany to do work experience for the last year of school. Brittany can be anxious, and without that experience she wouldn’t have been ready for work.

“Our main focus for her is life skills,” Sherilyn says. Brittany loves it and is very excited
about going to work, and is now transitioning to employment. She says the work environment has really helped Brittany’s social skills.

Lockdown upset her routine for a while, but working from home wasn’t the same. “Over lockdown we had to stay at home,” Bernie says. “We said to her parents, we can get her a lot of boxes. But they said it would take away the importance of going to work.”

Brittany reports to the CPL Production Manager and, until she left school at the end of last year, turned up with a teacher aide.

Bernie says the tarp installers go out on the road to work on trucks in yards all over the country, and no longer have to sort through a box of fastenings to find the ones they need.

Brittany is responsible for counting out the correct fastenings into kits for easy access. “The installers absolutely love it,” Bernie says. “Brittany is responsible for the tarps staying on the trucks.”

At the same time, further south in Levin, Bernie’s brother Reuben Stewart has got in on the act. Reuben supervises the company’s installations in the lower North Island and South Island and realised they needed their team player too.

Reuben contacted IHC and was put in touch with the Dennill family. Anthony Dennill, 20, started work experience in November cutting cables and packing up hardware kits. He also prepares the bolt kits that go inside each hardware kit with all the small bits and pieces. There are 50 components in each kit.

“He is doing an excellent job. Our boys take one kit for every job, so it’s probably five or six kits every day getting used,” Reuben says.

He says it’s a safeguard for the installers and prevents any hold-ups on site. He says it’s very costly for a truck to be off the road, even for half a day.

Leonette Dennill, Anthony’s mum, says he used to follow a checklist to make sure all the components were included, but he can now do it from memory. “It’s actually perfect. I go with him every day, but when school starts one of his teacher aides will be going with him. He would like that to be his job for always.”

Caption 1: A good fit – Brittany Hoyle’s work experience with Kiwi Tarp has boosted her confidence.

Caption 2: Part of the team – Anthony Dennill has found the job he wants and the team he likes at CPL in Levin.


This story was published in Strong Voices. The magazine is posted free to all IHC members. Read the full issue of Strong Voices or view more articles.