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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 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.

Our Industry Role

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 is one of few truly independent groups of its type that have been set up and currently one of the most active regional forestry groupings operating in New Zealand.

Economic Development

To promote, encourage and coordinate the sustainable economic development of the forest products industry in Otago and Southland.


To promote cooperation within and between established national and regional forest industry bodies, local authorities and other relevant groups.

Independent Body

To provide an independent body to bring together and improve communication between persons and groups involved with the business of forest products in the region to work collectively on issues of common interest.

Industry Initiatives

To promote and support regional forestry initiatives and assist in implementing national initiatives.

Sector Promotion

To actively promote the benefits of forestry and related industries to the community.

Industry News

For all the latest forest and wood products news and developments, SWC recommends the industry’s leading news source, Friday Offcuts.

Major Industry Promotions

NZ Wood – Love our Forests

The NZ Wood advertising campaign was launched in December 2015. The aim of this campaign is to promote and profile the forest growing industry in a positive light and to educate the general public and politicians about the huge value the industry brings to New Zealand and New Zealanders.

The concept “Love our forests” underpins all the reasons that forestry is great. Real people have been to tell the story and in the process, some great talent lurking in the forestry industry has been found!

For this first phase of the campaign we have chosen three key areas:

  1. The economic benefits of forests (link)
  2. The environmental benefits of forests (link)
  3. The recreational benefits of forests (link)

These three themes have been created for both billboards and magazines/newspapers. Attached is a short video being used as part of the campaign to promote forestry – to the community – to the industry and to Government.

Growing the Safety Culture

A video and case study with tips on improving the safety culture of forestry workers was released in August 2016 and has been posted onto the SafeTree New Zealand (www.safetree.nz) website.

It features a Southern Wood Council member. See how forest owner/manager Blakely Pacific reduced injuries and boosted productivity by working on attitudes towards health and safety among its workers.

Watch the video here or read the full case study here

Work Opportunities in Wood Manufacturing

“Women are the answer to New Zealand’s skilled worker shortage,” says Pamela Bell, CEO PrefabNZ. “Wood is going to be bigger than dairy – more sustainable and provide the jobs for our future,” says Pamela.

PrefabNZ, in collaboration with Carter Holt Harvey Woodproducts, BCITO and CareersNZ, has produced the logs4jobs video to raise the awareness of young people, especially females, of the work opportunities open to them in wood processing and manufacturing.

Statistics New Zealand estimates a growth in employment of 107,800 jobs in primary industries, manufacturing and construction by 2023. Women are also the untapped workforce able to fill the future skilled worker shortage according to recent research (Destination Trades).


Awards Programme

The Southern Wood Council Forestry Awards 2017
Date & venue

Friday 12 May 2017, 6.00-9.30pm
Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
( Fourth Floor, Heartland & Scenic Lounges)


The 2017 Southern Wood Council Awards is run in conjunction with Competenz. Due to the success of the previous two awards programmes, the 7 May 2017 event will be hosted at the same location, the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.

Both the 2015 and 2016 training awards evenings have drawn in record numbers. Forest managers, forestry contractors, transport operators and product and service suppliers to the industry from throughout the lower South Island have attended. Around 350 have attended each year. It is the most widely attended and supported forestry event in the region. 2017 is shaping up to be another outstanding evening.

What’s being planned?

Friday 12 May 2017, 6.00 – 9.30pm, Heartland & Scenic Lounges, Fourth Floor, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin.

5.00 – 6.00pm: Registration and pre-event drinks,
6.00 – 8.30pm: Awards Programme
8.30 – 9.30pm: Refreshments

No charge.
Parking: Parking at the stadium for those attending the Awards Programme is free after 5pm. Click here to view a map of the stadium car park.

What now?

Nominations are due by Friday 31 March 2017. Details are included below for all those interested in putting their names – or the name of their company forward this year. At the awards evening, in addition to the awarding of National Training Certificates achieved during the year by local forestry and wood products companies, nine major industry awards are presented.

Want further information?

Keep an eye out for further updates. If you have any questions on the 2017 awards programme – as an award nominee or if you would like to be involved as a sponsor or supporter to the 2017 awards event – please contact Brent Apthorp on Tel: 03 470 1902 or 021 227 5177 or Email: brent.apthorp@southernwoodcouncil.co.nz.

View 2017 Awards Brochure
View 2017 Awards Nomination Form
Register your team!

Because of the anticipated turnout from industry at the Stadium this year, pre-registration is required to save seating in the main lounge and to ensure we have enough catering brought in for the night. Seats will be allocated on a “first-come first served” basis. Pre-registration can be made by downloading and filling in the Invitation below.

Register Here

Past Events

2016 Forestry training and success celebrated in the South
The evening of Friday 20 May 2016 saw an outstanding turnout by local forestry companies, contractors and transport operators from throughout the lower South Island of New Zealand. The function was the Southern Wood Council Forestry Awards for 2016.

The Council, representing all major forest owners and most of the major wood processing companies in Otago and Southland ran the 2016 Awards programme in conjunction with the industry training organisation, Competenz.

The event was designed to profile the real contribution that forestry and those working within the industry are making to the economic and social well-being of the region, celebrate the success of those from within the industry that have achieved formal training qualifications over the year and through a series of new awards, to recognise the industry’s top performers from across the lower South Island.

The industry certainly rallied on the night. Like 2015, close to 400 forest managers, forestry contractors, 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 is probably a true reflection of the momentum that’s been building over the last year or so with on-site training and safety in this region” says Brent Apthorp, Secretary of the Southern Wood Council. “In addition to celebrating the training achievements of forestry crews, many travelling into Dunedin, some driving 3-4 hours to attend the evening, also brought with them other workers to celebrate the year – and to recognise the success of forestry workers, crews and companies that had stood out over the past 12 months”.

Presenters and speakers at the awards programme included rural broadcaster Jamie MacKay from Newstalk ZB and Radio Sport’s show The Country, Hon Jo Goodhew, Associate Minister for Primary Industries, Peter Gallagher, All Blacks Physiotherapist and High Performance Sports Consultant, Stephanie Rotorangi, Principal Rural Fire Officer, Otago and local forestry companies.

Around 120 National Training Certificates that had been achieved in Forestry & Wood Processing were awarded to top local contractors and forestry and wood processing employees. In addition, nine major industry awards were presented to:

  • Training Excellence Award – Modern Apprentice of the Year (Sponsored by Southern Wood Council) : Award Winner; Keanu Falconer, Shane Griffin Logging
  • Training Excellence Award – Forestry Trainee of the Year (harvesting) (Sponsored by Rayonier/ Matariki Forests) : Award Winner; Wayde Lindsay, Shane Griffin Logging
  • Training Excellence Award – Forestry Trainee of the Year (silviculture) (Sponsored by Dynes Transport) : Award Winner; Darren Lundin, McHoull Contracting
  • Skilled Professionals Awards – Forestry Excellence Award (establishment, silviculture, fire, harvesting) (Sponsored by South Wood Export) : Award Winner; Craig Gamble, Gamble Forest Harvesting
  • Skilled Professionals Awards – Wood Processing Excellence Award (Sponsored by Competenz) : Award Winner; Phillip Townshend, Niagara Sawmilling Co
  • Skilled Professionals Awards – Forest Products/Logistics/Transport/Port Award (Sponsored by UDC) : Award Winner; Blair Keelty of McNeill Drilling Company Ltd (Logging Division)
  • Industry Excellence Awards – Forestry Environmental Management Excellence Award (Sponsored by Otago Regional Council) : Award Winner; Greg Kendall/Paul Hart of Ernslaw One
  • Industry Excellence Awards – Training Company/Contractor of the Year (Sponsored by City Forests) : Award Winner; Johnson Forestry Services
  • Industry Excellence Awards – Forest Products Health & Safety Award (Sponsored by Ernslaw One) : Award Winner; Gillion Logging
  • Tree Faller Certification – Otago Southland. Four new certificates for Professional Tree Faller Certification, a new scheme that has just been implemented in the Otago/Southland region were also awarded.

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 been an important milestone for the industry in the region – another stepping stone to now, what is the major fixture each year on the local forestry calendar. Details for the 2017 awards programme will follow later this year.

2015 SWC Awards Programme

The Southern Wood Council in conjunction with the country’s Industry Training Organisation, Competenz, runs an annual awards programme in the region. In 2015, the industry revamped the awards evening. A record turnout of close to 400 people who attended the 2015 event at the Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin on Friday 19 June 2015.

Around 120 National Training Certificates that had been achieved in Forestry & Wood Processing were awarded to top local contractors and forestry and wood processing employees. Five major new awards were presented.

SWC Scholarships

A generous annual scholarship was introduced by the Southern Wood Council for School of Forestry students in 2011 for their final three years of study. The inaugural scholarship was awarded to the first student in 2011 and currently, three students in any one year, are receiving funding through the annual scholarship programme.

SWC Forest Products Scholarships 2017

University of Canterbury forestry student picks up major award

A University of Canterbury forestry student has just received top forest industry honours with a major scholarship being awarded. This year’s Southern Wood Council (SWC) Scholarship has been awarded to Logan Robertson, a Bachelor of Forestry Science student, studying at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch.

The Scholarship is the sixth that has been awarded to students as part of an annual scholarship programme set up by the Council in 2011. The annual scholarship awarded by the SWC is one of the most prestigious and valuable awarded to forestry students in New Zealand. In any one year, the SWC has up to $13,500 committed to three student scholarships.

Logan, born and raised in Southland has farming and forestry in his blood. Both of his grandfathers were bushmen in Southland and on his father’s side, his grandfather worked as a bushman in Canada, moving to Tuatapere in the early 60’s to continue his with his trade. Logan has continued family traditions studying forestry whilst working on wilding pine control eradication in Arthurs Pass over his holiday break. Logan is in his second year of study.

“The Annual Scholarship is an opportunity for forestry and wood products companies in the lower South Island to put back something into the industry and to support outstanding students studying towards either the Forestry Science or Forest Engineering courses at the School of Forestry” says SWC Chairman, Grant Dodson.

“The SWC is delighted to award this year’s scholarship to Logan and the industry is keen to continue to support all of the current scholarship recipients, both in their study – and in their future employment” says Mr Dodson.

The University Scholarship is offered each year by the SWC in addition to running a major industry training and awards programme for the forestry, wood products and transport industries in the lower South Island in Dunedin in May of each year.

SWC Modern Apprentice of the Year Award

An annual award is also given by the Southern Wood Council to the forest products modern apprentice of the year from the Otago/Southland region as part of the Regional Awards Programme (see Forestry Awards Programme).


The Southern Wood Council represents a wide cross section of the forest and wood products industry, associated key service suppliers and representatives from local and central Government. All major forest owners and most wood processing and manufacturing companies in Otago and Southland are represented. Members along with contact details are listed below.

CompanyAddressKey ContactPhoneWebsite
Blakely Pacific LtdPO Box 13-980, ChristchurchPhil Taylor(+64) 3 365 2846www.portblakely.com/blakely-pacific/about
City Forests LtdPO Box 210, DunedinGrant Dodson (SWC Chairman)(+64) 3 467 7722www.cityforests.co.nz
South Wood Export LtdPO Box 7010, InvercargillGraeme Manley(+64) 3 218 2073
Southern Wood CouncilPO Box 904, DunedinBrent Apthorp (SWC Secretary)(+64) 3 470 1902www.southernwoodcouncil.co.nz
Venture SouthlandPO Box 1306, InvercargillCathy Jordan(+64) 3 211 1400www.southlandnz.com
Wenita Forest Products LtdPO Box 341, MosgielDavid Cormack(+64) 3 489 3234www.wenita.co.nz
PF Olsen & Co.PO Box 975, DunedinDavid Thode(+64) 3 453 6819www.pfolsen.co.nz
Craigpine Timber LtdPO Box 55, WintonShaun Cawood(+64) 3 236 7533www.craigpine.co.nz
Ernslaw One LtdPO Box 36, TapanuiPhil de la Mare(+64) 3 204 8061www.ernslaw.co.nz
Ministry for Primary IndustriesPrivate Bag 1926, Dunedin 9054Parnell Trost(+64) 3 477 8454www.mpi.govt.nz
Port Otago LtdPO Box 8, Port Chalmers, DunedinPeter Brown(+64) 3 472 9886www.portotago.co.nz
Dongwha New Zealand Ltd.PO Box 189, GoreJihoon Kim(+64) 3 209 3100www.patinna.com
Rayonier Asia Pacific LtdPO Box 1742, InvercargillMark Grover(+64) 3 211 1272www.rayonier.com
South Port NZ LtdPO Box 1, BluffNigel Gear(+64) 3 212 6000www.southport.co.nz
Pan Pac Forest Products (Otago) LtdPO Box 135, Milton 9241Blair Watson(+64) 6 831 0138www.panpac.co.nz
CompetenzPO Box 2132, South Dunedin 9044Phil Williams(+64) 3 4817 102www.competenz.org.nz


Otago/Southland Forestry Profile 2015

A profile of the forestry sector in Otago – Southland has been prepared to support the recently released wood availability forecasts. The profile provides readers with:

  • an overview of the regional estate (in terms of species, distribution and ownership);
  • the trends in timber processing;
  • a summary of the harvest projections;
  • key contacts; and
  • a description of the infrastructure and services that have supported the growth of the industry.

Click here for a copy of the report

Wood Availability Forecasts – Otago/Southland 2014

New wood availability forecasts for the Otago – Southland wood supply region were released in 2014. The forecasts cover the period 2014 to 2050, and replace the earlier forecasts from 2008. The forecasts were prepared by Indufor Asia Pacific Limited, and incorporate the harvest intentions of the region’s major plantation companies (with over 1 000 hectares of planted forest).

The forecasts were reviewed by local forest managers and consultants, to ensure they are a realistic representation of future supply. The forecasts have been a joint initiative between the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Southern Wood Council.

Indufor has prepared separate forecasts for Otago and Southland, as well as for the combined wood supply region. The forecasts are intended as a planning tool for the forest industry, councils and infrastructure providers.

Click here for forecasts

Southland Residue Supply Assessment

A Wood Energy Supply Study prepared by Ahika Consulting in July 2015 confirms available supply of wood fuel for southern industrial boilers until 2050. Businesses considering switching from fossil to wood fuels can be confident that there is sufficient supply through to 2050. The Wood Energy South project identified this concern from the offset and commissioned a study to quantify the volume of waste wood in the South Otago and Southland Region.

More than 1 million tonnes of logs are harvested annually and this is projected to continue to increase at a rate of 2% per annum over the next 30 years. A large majority of this is exported but a quarter (25%) of this harvest remains in Southland. The study estimates the annual waste wood volume is currently 200,000 tonnes and will increase to 600,000 tonnes per annum over the next 30 years.

Wood Energy South is a $1.5M joint venture project between Venture Southland and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA). Currently there are eight wood fuel users across commercial, education and local government operations around Southland. The Wood Energy South project has technical expertise and funding available. For more information on this or to find out more about the wood supply please visit www.woodenergysouth.co.nz.

Click here for a copy of the report

South Otago Wood Residue Supply Assessment

This report was prepared for Wood Energy South, Venture Southland and the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority by Ahika Consulting in July 2015. The report was commissioned to provide certainty to candidate industrial wood energy users within South Otago about the ongoing availability of wood residue as an energy source.

The assessment is focussed on South Otago. It evaluates the available woody biomass resources that are available within the region, highlights the challenges and constraints to enabling a supply network, identifies solutions to overcome likely constraints, identifies the most profitable and effective supply chains and provides a clear strategy to enable the sustainable delivery of wood fuel to potential industry users.

Click here for a copy of the report


Plantation Resource

The Southern Wood Council members manage plantations and processing operations in the Otago – Southland wood supply region. The region has a combined plantation estate of 206 900 hectares (April 2014).

This resource represents 11.8% of New Zealand’s national estate and is concentrated in the Clutha, Southland, Waitaki and Dunedin districts. The estate is New Zealand’s most diversified, in terms of species (with large areas of Douglas-fir and eucalypts) and has doubled in size since the mid-1980s.

Otago/Southland Breakdown of Planted Production Forest Area (ha) by Region

Source: Southern Wood Council
Value of Industry

The forestry and timber processing sectors are major export industries for the Otago – Southland economy. This export focus will increase over the next decade with the maturing of the region’s forests. The combined export returns for logs, sawn timber and woodchips stood at $229.7million for the March 2015 year (provisional figures). The region accounted for 7.2% of New Zealand’s log exports (by value) and 7.8% of sawn timber exports.

Otago/Southland Value of Log & Sawn Timber Exports (Year ending March 2015)

Timber Processing

The Otago – Southland region has a history of sawmilling and timber processing that dates back more than 150 years. In the March 2014 year the region’s sawmills produced 346 000 m3 of rough sawn timber. This was equivalent to 8.8% of New Zealand’s sawn timber production.

Otago/Southland Production of Sawn Timber (m³) by Species from 2000 to 2014


The forestry sector is an important employer across Otago and Southland, particularly in regional centres such as Milton and Winton.

In 2014 the industry employed an estimated 1 741 workers in forestry and logging, support services and first stage timber processing (sawmilling, timber dressing and other wood product manufacturing). Of this total, 366 were employed in forestry and logging and 770 in sawmilling and timber dressing. The employment is concentrated in the Southland, Clutha and Dunedin districts.

Otago/Southland Employment in Forestry by Region from 2005 to 2014


Contact Details

  Ph: (+64) 3 470 1902
  Fax: (+64) 3 470 1904

Brent Apthorp
Southern Wood Council Inc
c/o Distinction Dunedin Hotel,
6 Liverpool Street,
Dunedin 9016, New Zealand

PO Box 904,
Dunedin 9054, New Zealand