2022 Forestry Training and Success Celebrated in the South

August 31, 2022
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Last Friday saw yet again another outstanding turnout by local forestry companies and contractors from throughout the lower South Island.  The function was New Zealand’s 2022 Southern Wood Council Forestry Awards run in conjunction with the country’s industry training organisation, Competenz/Te Pūkenga.

“The turnout by forestry workers, their families and supporters on the night continues to reflect the momentum that’s been building with training and safety in this region”

Grant Dodson, Chairman of the Southern Wood Council.

In addition to profiling the contribution forestry and those working within the industry make 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 Southland, Otago and South Canterbury.

After Covid related travel and meeting restrictions had postponed previous planned dates for the annual awards evening, the industry certainly rallied on the night.  Around 350 forest managers, forestry contractors, wood processing and transport operators and product and service suppliers to the industry attended the awards evening at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium.

“The turnout by forestry workers, their families and supporters on the night continues to reflect the momentum that’s been building 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 continue to provide a regular stream of trained workers to the industry”. 

As well as eight well established annual awards that have been celebrated now for eight years, this year marked the first time that a Women in Forestry Excellence Award was awarded and recognised by the wider industry.  Some outstanding nominations were received and it was only fitting that for the first time, two joint winners were announced on the night, representing women working in forest management and wood harvesting operations in the South. 

Hannah Lawson, Rayonier Matariki Forests and Emma Diack, D and K Contracting were announced as joint winners of the inaugural Women in Forestry Excellence Award

Hannah Lawson began working for Rayonier Matariki Forests (RMF) as a Harvesting Operations Coordinator in 2018 having started as a forester with another Southland based forestry operation, Southwood Export in 2012.  She has committed to forestry training having graduated with a Bachelor of Forestry Science (with Honours) from the University of Canterbury in 2012.  Since then, she’s achieved the National Certificate in Forest Harvesting for Quality Control and a number of other industry unit standards.  She’s also completed on-going training in leadership and development courses provided by Rayonier, as well as a Leadership Plus course over the last couple of months.

Hannah has developed broad forest operations experience and with RMF has built strong relationships with the company’s contracting workforce in harvesting, log cartage, and port operations.

Emma Diack, also working in Southland, was recognised at the awards evening as a determined young woman who’s quickly making a mark for herself in the male-dominated harvesting industry. Like Hannah, she has trained extensively.  She began her apprenticeship at the start of 2021 with the Mike Hurring Forestry School in conjunction with working in her father, Daryl Diack’s logging crew (D and K Contracting).

Over 300 National Training Certificates had been achieved in Forestry & Wood Processing across the region in the last 12 months

Emma is one of only two women who are due to complete their apprenticeships over the next few months and she’s proven herself to be very talented across a range of different tasks.  Emma’s first interest was not in a logging career, but in health and safety. She started by assisting her father and the team at D and K with their health and safety responsibilities. She considered going to SIT to study health and safety but once she got a taste for logging, she realised that she could actually combine this interest with a practical job and start to earn as she learned.

Aside from her harvesting apprenticeship, Emma has also completed a Level 3 Workplace Health and Safety course as well as a level 3 micro-credential environmental certificate. She plans to progress her health, safety and environmental knowledge and qualifications further after she has completed her apprenticeship.

From day one Emma was put in a machine to learn the role of fleeting, sorting and stacking as well as manual QC. With no previous machine experience, it was impressive to see just how quickly she picked up the controls. Within a few months she was sorting logs on her own and keeping up with the inflow of wood to the skid without creating bottlenecks.

Emma’s role as a trainee at D and K Contracting has now progressed to not only sorting but also loading out, track establishment and rehabilitation as well as being the crew’s Health and Safety Representative. In future, Emma plans to learn the role of a Harvester Operator.

Both Hannah and Emma stood out as successfully managing to do all of this work at a high quality while achieving a healthy balance between their work and family life.  Both have bright futures ahead of them and have already made their mark within the southern forest industry.

Over 300 National Training Certificates had been achieved in Forestry & Wood Processing across the region in the last 12 months and 200 plus framed certificates were awarded to top local contractors and forestry and wood processing employees on the night.  Twenty harvesting apprentices that have been involved in the Mike Hurring Logging Balclutha training school were also recognised at the awards ceremony. 

2022 Major Award Winners:

  • Training Excellence Award – Apprentice of the Year (Sponsored by Southwood Export) Award Winner; Spencer Horsewood, Summit Logging 2020
  • Training Excellence Award – Forestry Trainee of the Year (harvesting)   (Sponsored by Log Marketing) Award Winner; Bradley Walsh, Mike Hurring Logging  
  • Training Excellence Award – Forestry Trainee of the Year (silviculture)  (Sponsored by Port Blakely): Award Winner; Eddie Collins, Proforest Services
  • Skilled Professionals Awards – Forestry Excellence Award (establishment, silviculture, fire, harvesting)  (Sponsored by Rayonier Matariki Forests): Award Winner; Alistair McKenzie, Johnson Forestry Services
  • Skilled Professionals Awards – Wood Processing Excellence Award  (Sponsored by UDC): Award Winner; Jayden Lamb, Niagara  
  • Skilled Professionals Awards – Women in Forestry Excellence Award  (Sponsored by Venture Forestry): Award Winners; Hannah Lawson, Rayonier Matariki Forests & Emma Diack, D and K Contracting
  • Industry Excellence Awards – Forestry Environmental Management Excellence Award (Sponsored by Ernslaw One); Award Winner; HWH Logging
  • Industry Excellence Awards – Training Company/Contractor of the Year (Sponsored by City Forests): Award Winner; Roxburgh Contracting
  • Industry Excellence Awards – Forest Products Health & Safety Award (Sponsored by Wenita Forest Products): Award Winner; Dynes Group