2021 Forestry Training and Success Celebrated in the South

May 24, 2021
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Last Friday saw again an outstanding turnout by local forestry companies, contractors and transport operators from throughout the lower South Island of New Zealand.  The function was the 2021 Southern Wood Council Forestry Awards.

The Council, representing all major forest owners and wood processing companies in Otago and Southland ran the 2021 Awards programme in conjunction with the country’s industry training organisation, Competenz.

In addition to profiling the contribution that forestry and those working within the industry are making to the economic and social well-being of the region, the night was really designed to celebrate the success of those that had achieved formal training qualifications over the year.  Through a series of nine major awards, the event also recognised the forest industry’s top performers from across the lower South Island.

The industry certainly rallied on the night.  Like previous years, around 350 forest managers, forestry contractors, wood processing and transport operators and product and service suppliers to the industry from throughout the lower South Island attended the awards evening at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium.

“The turnout by forestry workers, their families and supporters on the night reflects the momentum that’s been building over the last few years with training and safety in this region” says Grant Dodson, Chairman of the Southern Wood Council.  In addition to increased on-site training, two training courses in the region are now well established and providing a regular stream of trained workers to the industry”. 

“As well as recognising the training achievements of forestry workers and crews that have really stood out over the past 12 months, the industry was able to come together at one place to celebrate the industry along with training and business success” says Mr. Dodson.  

“The message on the value of the awards evening has certainly found it’s mark with many companies bringing through all of their staff and workers, from Invercargill through to Timaru.  One local contractor for example brought through close to 40 of their workers to celebrate their achievements in picking up training qualifications over the year as well as rewarding the harvesting crews for their efforts over the year”.

Over 250 National Training Certificates that had been achieved in Forestry & Wood Processing were awarded to top local contractors and forestry and wood processing employees.  Eight harvesting apprentices that have been involved in the Balclutha training school were also recognised at the awards ceremony.  There are now two more groups of eight apprentices also going through the training school. 

In addition, nine major industry awards for the year were presented on the night.  These were;

  • Training Excellence Award – Apprentice of the Year (Sponsored by Southwood Export) Award Winner; Norman Rewita, Griffin Logging
  • Training Excellence Award – Forestry Trainee of the Year (harvesting) (Sponsored by Log Marketing) Award Winner; Wayde Lindsay, Griffin Logging
  • Training Excellence Award – Forestry Trainee of the Year (silviculture) (Sponsored by Port Blakely): Award Winner; Eafou Tagiaia, Central Forestry Services
  • Skilled Professionals Awards – Forestry Excellence Award (establishment, silviculture, fire, harvesting) (Sponsored by Rayonier/Matariki Forests): Award Winner; Terry Gorton, King One
  • Skilled Professionals Awards – Wood Processing Excellence Award (Sponsored by UDC): Award Winner; Jordan Francis, Niagara Sawmilling Co
  • Skilled Professionals Awards – Forest Products/Logistics/Transport/Port Award (Sponsored by Pan Pac Forest Products (Otago)): Award Winner; Murray Lumsden, Philip Wareing
  • Industry Excellence Awards – Forestry Environmental Management Excellence Award (Sponsored by Ernslaw One); Andrew Murray, Murray Logging
  • Industry Excellence Awards – Training Company/Contractor of the Year (Sponsored by City Forests): Award Winner; Mike Hurring Logging
  • Industry Excellence Awards – Forest Products Health & Safety Award (Sponsored by Wenita Forest Products): Award Winner; Tim Gaul, C3 Ltd

Congratulations go to all the winners, the nominees, their employers and families.  This year’s awards programme with strong support from the wider industry, supporting organisations and major equipment and product suppliers has again been another important milestone for the forestry industry in the lower South Island.  Like other Regional Wood Council awards evenings, it’s firmly established as the major fixture each year on the local forestry calendar.

Media Contact

Brent Apthorp, Secretary, Southern Wood Council

Tel: (+64) 21 227 5177, Email:

Note: Photos available on request. 

Southern Wood Council

The Southern Wood Council Inc (SWC) was set up in 2001 to promote, encourage and coordinate the sustainable economic development of the forest products industry in the Otago and Southland regions of New Zealand.

The Southern Wood Council includes all the major forest owners within the region, forest managers, larger wood processing and manufacturing companies, port authorities and representatives from local councils, industry training and Government organisations.

SWC member companies own or manage the majority of the larger plantation forests within the region. It’s now one of six regional Wood Council’s that have been set up in New Zealand.  For more information visit: