The Early Days
1912 – Daniel Gleeson
The Gleeson family first ventured into transport when Daniel and his siblings would take cream cans by horse and cart to the dairy factory before going to school in the mornings. Daniel later saw this as a business opportunity and secured a contract and a loan to buy a truck.
Armed with a Ford Model T, Daniel began the cream run at the ripe age 13.
When he wasn’t doing the cream run, Daniel Gleeson kept the Model T busy by going down to the Manukau Harbour’s nearby shoals of shell. He would shovel it from the banks into the back of the truck, to fill up potholes for the county. That kept him busy until he sold his last truck – 1938 was the last year he owned a Diamond Reo, which was a big step up from a Model T – and he retired out of transport and stayed with his farming. Eventually, Daniel bought more land in Waipipi to such an extent that they named the road after the family, Gleeson Road, which still exists today.
“It’s a family thing. My Dad built this company with a strong vision of doing things right, and I’m continuing the philosophy, and the journey. Straight talk, straight business, straight up.”
– James Gleeson
While the story of Gleeson & Cox as a company dates back to 1967, its lineage goes all the way back to 1868 – this is when William Gleeson, the current Commander in Chief, James Gleeson’s, great grandfather arrived in New Zealand with his Irish immigrant family.
They had set out to chase gold in Ballarat, Australia, but ended up in New Zealand soon after, mining in Thames-Coromandel and Shotover-Queenstown. Pockets lined with gold, the Gleeson’s left the South Island to build and run nine pubs throughout Auckland. The last remaining is the Albion (est. 1873); and pre that the Aurora (demolished in 2010).
William parted company with his brother and purchased a plot of land in Waipipi (on the Awhitu Peninsula, near Waiuku). Marrying the girl next door, they started a family and had 13 children, the youngest son born being James’ Grandfather, Daniel Gleeson.