Awards 2023 – Forest training & success celebrated in the South

May 22, 2023
Back to Posts

Friday 19 May 2023 saw yet again another outstanding turnout by local forestry companies and contractors from throughout the lower South Island of New Zealand.  The function was the 2023 Southern Wood Council Forestry Awards run in conjunction with the country’s industry training organisation, Competenz/Te Pūkenga run at the Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin.

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 this year, ten major awards, the event also recognised the forest industry’s top performers from across the lower South Island.

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.  As well as nine well established annual awards that have been celebrated for nine years, this year marked the first time that an Outstanding Forest Industry Contribution Award was set up to celebrate an individual who has made a significant lifetime contribution to the forest or wood products sector within the Otago, Southland or South Canterbury regions.

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

2023 Major Award Winners:

  • Training Excellence Award – Apprentice of the Year (Sponsored by Southwood Export), Award Winner, Emma Diack, D and K Contracting
  • Training Excellence Award – Forestry Trainee of the Year (harvesting) (Sponsored by Log Marketing), Award Winner; Phil Jones, Roxburgh Contracting
  • Training Excellence Award – Forestry Trainee of the Year (silviculture) (Sponsored by Port Blakely), Award Winner, Jaycob Baker, NJ Sim Forestry Services
  • Skilled Professionals Awards – Forestry Excellence Award (establishment, silviculture, fire, harvesting) (Sponsored by Rayonier Matariki Forests), Award Winner; Matthew Waller, Mike Hurring Logging
  • Skilled Professionals Awards – Wood Processing Excellence Award (Sponsored by UDC), Award Winner; Adrian Mennell, Pankhurst Sawmilling
  • Skilled Professionals Awards – Women in Forestry Excellence Award (Sponsored by Venture Forestry), Award Winner; Brittney Kircher, Cable Logging Geraldine 
  • Industry Excellence Awards – Forestry Environmental Management Excellence Award (Sponsored by Ernslaw One), Award Winner, Andrew Haulage – Forestry Roading Crew
  • Industry Excellence Awards – Training Company/Contractor of the Year (Sponsored by City Forests), Award Winner; Mike Hurring Logging Training School
  • Industry Excellence Awards – Forest Products Health & Safety Award (Sponsored by Wenita Forest Products): Award Winner; Summit Logging
  • Industry Excellence Awards – Outstanding Forest Industry Contribution Award (Sponsored by Competenz/Te Pūkenga), Award Winner; Phil de la Mare, Ernslaw One

In addition to Phil de la Mare, Ernslaw One’s South Island Regional Manager, being recognised for his outstanding contribution of close on 50 years (33 of these being based in Tapanui) to the forest industry in the lower South Island, the awards evening was also to celebrate in style, the upcoming retirement of Phil Williams, Competenz’s Otago-based Forestry Account Manager.

As detailed by forest owners and contractors on the night, Phil has for close on 24 years, been instrumental in mapping the skills needed as part of the national qualifications framework and working alongside local forestry contractors and companies across the lower South Island helping them develop their own training plans to grow their employee skill levels and raise their business productivity. 

Photos seen here of individuals or crews receiving awards or certificates on the evening can be requested directly by contacting: