Tired of sitting at home watching television while her husband was out towing vehicles, Pam Manning decided to become Kapiti Coast's first fully licensed "lady towie".
She was an office manager for 30 years before deciding to sit her HT licence and complete a course to get behind the wheel of one of her husband's tow trucks.
Getting the licence was "a piece of cake". She loves her job and is amused by the reactions she gets when she hops out of the cab.
"You do not often see a woman getting out of a tow truck – women are often rapt and really interested to see a woman doing what is usually a man's job," she said.
"But the men look surprised, ask if I can do the job or if they can help, especially if I am rolling around underneath the truck trying to get the winch rope attached. It is very chivalrous of them, but I just say, 'Don't worry, I have my licence, I know what I am doing.' "
She says she is "not a small girl" and has no problems using raw power to push vehicles into position to be picked up or winching them on to the truck. "I can see no reason why women cannot do it – the only thing a man can probably do is ratchet the tie-down one more notch."
Husband Bruce says he is delighted to have his wife driving trucks. "We have worked as a husband and wife team for 17 years, she has helped with salvages, which rely on trust, especially when a vehicle is 20 metres down a bank.
"There is not much she cannot do, believe me, but she has got more bolshie. She is good at her job, one of the boys. A lot of people like dealing with her at emergencies when people are upset – by the time she has had a laugh with them they are easier to deal with."
Since Mrs Manning got her licence last year, another Kapiti Coast woman has followed suit and got her licence last week.
- The Dominion Post