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By David Beck
AFTER more than five decades behind the
wheel of a taxi, Bill Millar says he will feel like
“a fish out of water” when he retires next week.
While he has not been able to fulfil his wish of
selling his Otorohanga Taxis business (Waitomo
News, October 13), the 78-year-old will call it a
day on Tuesday.
Known as much for his ardent promotion
of the North King Country, as he is for driving
taxis, Mr Millar has spent the last 55 years shut-
tling tourists from Otorohanga to the Waitomo
Caves, as well as providing a reliable method of
transport for local residents.
“As much as I can, they [visitors] go away with
a lot more knowledge about the area than what
they came with,” he says.
When he started as a taxi driver in May 1962,
aged 24 there were four cabs in the company as
well as two others working independently.
Fast forward to 2017 and he has the only taxi
still operating in town.
“I have to confess I have probably put more
into this town than I have my family, but they
have always been supportive.
“I love the town and I love the people.”
He will have a small farewell ceremony at the
end of his last shift at the Otorohanga Club from
7pm on Tuesday. Then he and his wife Irene are
going on a six-month holiday to Australia where,
for the first time in decades, Mr Millar will be the
tourist not the tour guide.
“After that I plan to lay low for a while, but
I’m sure I’ll get back into doing something – I’m
a people person.”
On Monday, New Zealand Taxi Federation
executive director John Hart travelled from Wel-
lington to Otorohanga to congratulate Mr Millar
on a “wonderful career”.
“He’s been remarkable in the taxi industry,
there wouldn’t be too many people in New Zea-
land who have maintained this sort of involve-
ment in the industry,” he says.
“Bill has lasted through very difficult times
with increasing rules and regulations – in the
taxi industry. It has been very hard to survive in
these regional centres.”
When asked why Mr Millar has lasted 55
years in the industry, Mr Hart simply replies . . .
“Otorohanga Taxis has provided a very impor-
tant service to local residents and will be difficult
Mr Millar’s constant promotion of the district
goes “above and beyond” the normal responsibili-
ties of a taxi driver and is “invaluable” in a small
community he says.
“It adds a whole new element having that local
knowledge. It’s a sad loss really for the area, but
I wish Bill and Irene all the best for the future.”
Mr Millar says, while nobody is taking over
Otorohanga Taxis, he understands a private hire
company is interested in starting up its own taxi
service in the district.
Meanwhile, he says he wants to be remem-
bered as . . . “a person doing his job and service
to the community”.
Fare thee well!
NEW ZEALAND Taxi Federation executive director John Hart (right) was in Otorohanga on
Monday to congratulate Bill Millar on his long-standing career, which comes to an end on
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