Skip to the content

TR Group and I AM HOPE’s Gumboot Friday challenge: 2,000 Kilometres for FREE Kids’ Counselling

Mack, The Hopeful Black Dog
Mack, The Hopeful Black Dog

In 2019, TR Group embarked on a 9-month-long journey to build a one of a kind heavy commercial vehicle whose purpose exceeds more than just being a tool for business. This truck is  Mack, the Hopeful Black Dog. In partnership with I AM HOPE, the youth and community focused support group run by The Key to Life Charitable Trust, started by former New Zealander of the Year, Mike King – this beloved truck was built as an initiative to give an expression of love and support to everyone who may be carrying a heavy load.

Mack, the Hopeful Black Dog is a Mack Super Liner, built with purpose to represent a number of things. This starts with having chosen a 685 horsepower motor to represent inner strength and presence. It also has two of everything from stacks to air cleaners and more, representing stability and balance. All the way to its, typically gold, one of a kind, black Mack Bulldog bonnet ornament. The gold isn’t left out since our friends at Motor Trucks Distributors produced this piece to specifically show that this is a black dog with a golden heart.

The Hopeful Black Dog is truly a product of the collaborative work between TR Group and I AM HOPE in order to make a positive impact on people’s lives. Our goal is to raise mental health awareness, remove the stigma that surrounds it, and showcase hope through the messages on the wrapping of the truck. These messages include “Have you checked on your mates today?”, “Kindness is as much part of a man as courage.”, “Ask your mates if they are ok.”, “Hang On Pain Ends”, and many more.

TR Group believes in this cause because the number of people who have struggled and who are struggling with mental health issues is rising – and we believe that making a positive difference starts with all of us. The simple act of checking on our friends and family can make a significant impact in people’s lives. With Mike and his team’s help, we were able to build the truck around one key message: hope.

Mike and I AM HOPE had been working tirelessly to help communities have a conversation around mental health, delivering messages of hope, and getting young Kiwis connected to counsellors to make sure that they’re able to take care of their mental health at a very young age. Mike’s initiative brought the annual ‘Gumboot Friday’ Fundraiser to surface, which last year alone, has raised over $1.3 million, providing 10,670 free counselling sessions to more than 2,500 young New Zealanders.

This year, Gumboot Friday Tractor Trek aims to raise an incredible $5 million for free kids’ counselling and we’re happy to announce that Mack, the Hopeful Black Dog is in it for the ride. The Hopeful Black Dog will serve as a support vehicle during the 2,000-kilometre trek from Bluff to Cape Reinga, driven by our very own Mark Kenworthy. Travelling from the South Island to the North Island, the Gumboot Friday Tractor Trek Team’s goal is to reach rural communities in Aotearoa, have a conversation around mental health and why it’s important for all of us to be accountable for each other, while simultaneously raising funds for free kids’ counselling.

We are proud and privileged to be a part of this great cause. At TR Group, we believe in continuous improvement and making people’s lives better. These values exceed business and we take supporting each other seriously. We do our best to be there for each other and everyone we interact with because life is too short to be feeling like you’re walking through mud every day.

If you’d like to join us in supporting this great cause, chuck on your gumboots on the 3rd of April! We’ve also made donating easy! Simply click the link below:


TR Group believes that together, we can make a world of difference to those who need it. Thank you so much for your continuous support and generosity. Please remember to keep checking on each other!

About the author

Shane O'Grady

Shane has been with TR Group since 2014 as our National Sales Manager. He is responsible for leading the lease sales team, focusing on growing our asset base and long term revenue. Moreover, he leads a team passionate for trucks and people, making sure to match great customers with the right vehicles, each and every time.


Looking for documents, downloads, company information, videos, and testimonials?