Greg back for second tilt at title

SONIA BEAL
Last updated 10:32 22/02/2013
Jonathon Noonan

Jonathon Noonan, of Hawera puts his digger skills to work pouring smoko at the National Excavator Operator Competition finals in Feilding 2010

Greg Robinson
Mike Edridge Contracting excavator operator Greg Robinson, of Blenheim, at his last national Excavator Operator competition in 2011.

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Self-confessed machinery buff Greg Robinson, of Blenheim, will square off against nine of the country's best excavator operators in Feilding next month.

It is the second time Mr Robinson, who works for Mike Edridge Contracting, will represent Nelson/Marlborough in the National Excavator Operator competition, organised by the New Zealand Contractors' Federation at the Central Districts Field Days from March 7 to 9.

Lifting a teapot to pour a cup of tea, popping a champagne cork and flipping sausages on a barbecue with a 12-tonne Hitachi excavator were some of the more light-hearted surprise challenges the competition is renowned for.

But Mr Robinson was also in for two days rigorous construction, planning and loading challenges designed to test operator skills and industry knowledge.

His first competition in 2011 was "extremely tough", Mr Robinson said.

Competition was fierce against such highly skilled opponents and organisers were very strict.

"You're not allowed to do a lot of things like look at what the other competitors are doing during the challenges - and if you do something wrong you have to go and sit in the tent, you're not allowed to talk to anyone and you get your cellphone taken off you.

"It's one of the most stressful things I've ever done," he laughed.

However, he was certain he had a good footing in the competition the second time around.

"I think I'll be extremely prepared this time around. I reckon I've got a good crack at it. I've grown up around machinery and around diggers and its always been a dream of mine to be in the role I'm in - and it would be the ultimate to say I won the New Zealand title of Excavator Operator.

"But at the end of the day, it's just a title and it doesn't mean you're bigger than anyone else."

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- The Marlborough Express

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