Biomass favourite for decarbonising SI process heat

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Biomass is the clear favourite for industrial process heat users in the South Island of New Zealand looking to decarbonise their operations, according to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority. Initial EECA data indicates that 90 per cent of high-temperature boiler operators in Canterbury and Southland prefer biomass to electrification because of cost considerations. Electrode boilers have much higher capital costs than thermal boilers and expose users to changes in wholesale electricity prices. It is much cheaper and easier to convert existing boilers to run on biomass while retaining coal as a backstop. DETA Consulting is leading the primary data … Read More

Two pension funds acquire NZ forestry asset

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Two European pension funds, APG Asset Management (APG) on behalf of its Dutch pension fund client ABP, and UK’s Pension Protection Fund (PPF), have agreed to purchase Sinotrans New Zealand Limited’s (Sinotrans NZ) shareholding in Wenita Forest Products Limited (Wenita). Wenita is the largest producer of timber in Otago, New Zealand, across almost 30,000 hectares of sustainably managed forests. With a history spanning three decades, Wenita is widely recognised as one of the premier softwood plantation assets in New Zealand. Under the agreement, the two investors will acquire the 62% share from Sinotrans NZ. A New Forests-managed fund, the Australia … Read More

Funding support for local Forestry Pathways Programme

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In its latest funding round, Otago Community Trust awarded a NZ$19,611 grant to the Tokomairiro Training Pathways course to assist with the cost of running the Forestry Pathways Programme out of Tokomairiro Training Centre. Tokomairiro Training programme manager Lynda Allan said the programme specialises in breaking down barriers to learning for young people, who are often at risk of dropping out of school. “The Forestry Pathways Programme places emphasis on silviculture operations and introduces learners to a variety of industry pathways including future tertiary study and employment”. The programme has been running for three years now, it is run for … Read More

Ikea acquires Otago land for forestry

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The parent company of Swedish retail giant Ikea has acquired 5,500 hectares of New Zealand farmland for forestry plantation. A statement from the firm said the project would be managed by Ingka Investments, the investment arm of Ingka Group and Ikea. The property, Wisp Hill Station, is located in the north Catlins in Otago. An area of 330ha will be planted with radiata pine seedlings and the long-term plan is to have a total of 3,000 hectares, more than 3 million seedlings, planted in the next five years. The remaining 2200 hectares would be left to naturally regenerate into native … Read More

Contracting industry becoming ‘cut throat’

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NZ contractors are losing out on work as forest owners cancel pending contracts to hold out for log prices to rise. After hitting a peak four months ago, New Zealand log prices fell due to worldwide containership congestion at ports, high fuel and shipping prices and a downturn in demand from China as it deals with its own Covid-19 delta outbreak. Otautau-based Baird Logging owner Bobby Baird said these factors were causing forest owners to cancel pending contracts as they hold out for another rise in prices. Because of this, logging contractors were losing out on work they might have … Read More

Another major NZ industrial plant switches to biomass

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Nelson-based company biomass fuel company Azwood Energy is building a production facility near Milton to service a burgeoning biomass fuel industry. Azwood Energy general manager Brook Brewerton confirmed that one of its clients will be Danone Nutricia New Zealand, near Clydevale, which is building a biomass boiler. Progress on the new plant was fairly advanced, he said. A Danone spokesman said the plant would need 35,000 tonnes of sustainable wood fuel per year; that is four to five 30-tonne truck-and-trailer units per day to make its infant milk formula. The new boiler, expected to release its first head of steam … Read More

New video for NZ primary school students

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The second video, What is a Forester for the Wood is Good program was filmed in Masterton and features again, the well-known New Zealand actor and comedian, Pio Terei. Fully funded by MPI the video will be shown at primary schools across NZ as part of the Wood Council’s primary school’s program. Special thanks to the team of actors from JNL, Nixon Contracting and to the team at C3 in Masterton for allowing the video to be shot in their yard.Please feel free to share this with your teams. Source: Southern North Island Wood Council

Father and son graduate forestry course together

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A father and son duo from Southland have shown there’s value in getting back to the books, even after four decades in the game. Bobby Baird and his 65-year-old father Robert completed their Level 4 New Zealand Certificate in Forest Harvesting with Competenz together in May. All employees went through the forestry training together alongside the Bairds and received their qualifications at the Southern Wood Council Forestry Awards ceremony held in Dunedin. Robert had practical experience gained during four decades in the bush and said the vocational training included in the certificate was helping keep people safe. “When I started … Read More

Fonterra announce another switch to wood biomass

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As Minister for Energy and Resources Hon Dr Megan Woods officially opened Fonterra’s wood pellet boiler at its Te Awamutu plant, the Co-operative announced details for its next site to exit coal – Stirling cheese plant in Otago. Otago’s ‘fantastic little cheese plant’, will be coal free and using wood biomass to fire the site by August next year. This will make Stirling Fonterra’s first 100% renewable thermal energy site, a significant step towards the Co-op’s goal of getting out of coal all together by 2037. By switching to wood biomass, the site’s annual emissions will reduce by 18,500 tonnes … Read More

WorkSafe reminder on forest safety

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(WorkSafe) Health and Safety Paramount On Forestry Sites A tragic forestry fatality on the East Coast could have been avoided if industry guidance had simply been followed, says New Zealand’s WorkSafe. Businesses are being reminded once again to make sure work is being done correctly, safely and to higher industry standards or risk seeing their workers injured or killed. Two companies appeared in court on 24 March 2021 for sentencing following the incident with the sentencing decision being released on 16 July 2021. Earnslaw One Limited engaged Pakiri Logging Limited to assist with harvesting at West Ho forest in Tologa … Read More

Southland farm bought for forestry

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A Malaysian company has been given consent to buy a nearly 460ha sheep and beef farm in Western Southland. The Overseas Investment Office gave the consent to the 100 per cent Malaysian-owned company Pine Plantations Private Ltd to buy the farm – near Tuatapere – from vendors Ayson and Karen Gill for NZ$4 million. The consent states the company intends to develop about 330ha of the land into a commercial forest, principally in pine trees. Planting was intended to start in 2021-22, for the trees to be harvested in up to 30 years. Federated Farmers Southland meat and wool chairman … Read More

Digital communications rolled out across forestry operations

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A new digital radio system from Motorola Solutions and communications partner Central Radio Services (CRS) is helping New Zealand’s City Forests to work more safely and efficiently while complying with COVID-19 work requirements. Initially deployed to replace an outdated analogue radio network, the system delivers many additional benefits. Among them are contact-free communication and social distancing in the field, replacing the need for drivers to exchange paper job dockets with a digital docketing system. The new solution incorporates MOTOTRBO SLR5500 digital two-way radio repeaters across four sites with TRBOnet radio dispatch software providing valuable data and safety features, helping to … Read More

Optimistic outlook for tree seedlings supplier

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“Strong momentum and supportive tail winds” have created an optimistic outlook for the New Zealand operation of a global genetics seedling company. United States-headquartered ArborGen is the largest supplier of tree seedlings in the world, selling 400million a year worldwide. Its New Zealand operation comprises six nurseries, two seed orchards, a Ministry for Primary Industries-accredited Level 3 post-entry quarantine facility and tissue laboratory. The quarantine facility was used for importing seeds and plants to meet biosecurity requirements. It also has about 3000 radiata pine varietals across 90 trial sites. In 2014, the company bought a nursery in Edendale which was … Read More

Wood is Good on the road in the South

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The first day of the industry’s Wood is Good roadshow started at Outram School for 176 Students, Principal Kim Allan and about 8 other teachers. Dynes Transport provided a log truck and manager Calum McCreath along with their driver to spend the whole day showing classes around and though their log truck. Wenita Forestry kindly sponsored high vis vests for the entire school and regional manager Willie Sinclair spent the morning talking at the whole assembly, providing a drone flying demonstration on the sports field for the entire school and going class to class explaining what a forester does. The … Read More

Biofuel in Southland being hit by log prices

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An Invercargill businessman is worried that international demand for logs is driving up the price of woodchips used to fuel eco-friendly boilers. The McCallums Group managing director Wayne McCallum said the price of the woodchips was linked to the export price and higher international prices meant more logs were being exported rather being processed in New Zealand. This meant there were fewer woodchips available in the country and the price was volatile and McCallum worried this would put other businesses off from making the switch to carbon-efficient fuel sources. He raised this concern at a meeting attended by Finance Minister … Read More

NZ Council seeking controls over carbon forestry

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Following concerns raised by the public and a visit to the site of October’s Livingstone fire, Otago Regional Councillors and iwi representatives on the council’s strategy and planning committee discussed tree planting for carbon sequestration (carbon forests) during a meeting last week. “Unlike plantation forestry, carbon forests are planted and left in perpetuity,” Cr Kevin Malcolm said. “As forestry for carbon sequestration is currently a permitted activity in the Otago region, there’s not the same level of maintenance and hazard management expected for forests planted for harvest. This can lead to pest problems, depleted river flow in water-short catchments, and … Read More

Southland Forestry Open Day attracts local students

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With the enthusiastic support of industry front-line staff, the 2021 Be the Future of Forestry Day went off without a hitch in Winton on 18 March. Even the weather played ball, the sun shining after several days of heavy rain. The event, organised by Southland Youth Futures in partnership with Rayonier Matariki Forests and Future Foresters, was a chance for young people to explore forestry career and training options across the entire timber supply chain – from seedling production, forest planning, silviculture and harvesting to transport and logistics, timber processing and log exporting. Technology in forestry, the environmental benefits of … Read More

NZ$30 million biomass boiler on track

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The first steam from Danone Nutricia NZ’s innovative new biomass boiler plant in South Otago is expected in August. In 2019, the French food giant announced a NZ$40million investment in its spray drying plant at Clydevale as it looked towards achieving carbon neutrality by 2021. It was driven primarily by the installation of a NZ$30million biomass boiler that would reduce the plant’s CO2 emissions by 20,000 tonnes per year. The plant processes raw milk from local farms into powder used as the base for production of infant milk formula brands including Aptamil and Karicare. Boilers played a central role in … Read More

Forestry industry post COVID-19 busier than ever

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COVID-19 recovery training numbers tracking well in the New Zealand forestry sector, with more trainees than ever carving out a career in the industry With a significant increase in the number of Kiwis enrolling in forestry training programmes over the past 12 months and more than 5,400 people needed to fill roles in the industry over the next five years, the forestry sector is busier than ever. Industry training organisation Competenz has reported a 314% increase in enrolments in the past 12 months, which CEO Fiona Kingsford believes is in part due to the government’s post-COVID-19 funding boost – a … Read More

Funding boost for Generation Programme

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Eastland Wood Council’s Generation Programme has received a huge boost from Te Uru Rākau (Forestry New Zealand) who have topped up the coffers by NZ$441,000 through its One Billion Trees Programme. EWC chief executive Kim Holland says the funding has secured the future of the programme for the next two years. “It is fantastic to strengthen our relationship with Te Uru Rākau through this kind of support and to see them invest in forest industry training like this,” said Ms Holland. “It means we can continue to develop the programme to ensure it meets industry needs. This recognises the success … Read More

Southland sawmill sold

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The sale of a Southland sawmill has been described as “devastating” for the local community, but the company that has bought it plans to integrate the mill into its own expanding timber operations. Niagara Sawmilling Company Ltd has bought Southland business Craigpine Timber Ltd at Winton, with the sale effective from December 18. More than 50 job losses are expected as operations at the Winton sawmill will be reduced from two shifts to one. Niagara owner Ross Richardson said: “With five sawmills already closing this year around New Zealand, Niagara is thrilled that we will be able to integrate the … Read More

Southland woman inducted to Road Transport Hall of Fame

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Anita Dynes is the first woman to be inducted in the NZ Road Transport Hall of Fame for 2020. Dynes, originally from Balclutha, is credited as being crucial to the development of Tapanui-based Dynes Transport. Throughout her five decades in the transport industry, working alongside husband Jim, her substantive work ethic, tenacity and family values were pivotal in the company becoming an iconic industry fixture with interests in dairy, forestry and wine industries in addition to transport. Six inductees were welcomed into the Mobil 1 Delvac NZ Road Transport Hall of Fame after a function at the Bill Richardson Transport … Read More

New Canterbury West Coast Wood Council formed

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The eighth Wood Council in New Zealand is a combination of forestry, transport, processing, regional councils, contractors, nurseries and Canterbury University School of Forestry. 54 members currently make up this diverse group that has formed to promote the benefits of forestry in our communities, careers in forestry, where our resource goes and what it is used for. Wood Councils have been around in New Zealand for more than 30 years. They were formed by individual groups in each region to support each other in the sector and provide information to the public and interest groups on forest activities and purpose. … Read More

Fire and Emergency honours’ award recipients

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Fire and Emergency New Zealand Chief Executive, Rhys Jones has congratulated five firefighters and support personnel from Cromwell, Kaikoura, Ranfurly, Blackball (West Coast) and Taneatua (Bay of Plenty) who were named in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours list. “We are very proud to have such dedicated people offer their services to both Fire and Emergency New Zealand and their communities,” said Mr Jones. “The huge amount of work they have undertaken over many years, for our organisation and many others, is helping to make their communities stronger, safer and more resilient.” The recipients were; Des Minehan(Cromwell) – Member of the … Read More

Training course attracting women to forestry

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In New Zealand, an Eastland Wood Council forestry training programme aimed at keeping pace with the demand for forestry workers has had an unexpected boon — boosting diversity in a traditionally male-dominated industry. The Gisborne Herald takes a deeper look at the benefits of the EWC Generation programme with programme manager Siobhain Fyall and some of the women who have successfully graduated. “When we started the Generation Programme two years ago, we knew there was a demand in the forest industry for trained, work ready, and reliable workers,” EWC Generation Programme manager Siobhain Fyall said. “Our first Generation back in … Read More

Forestry industry in the South remains resilient

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While forestry was one of the first industries to be impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, the sector remains resilient with prices and demand trending positively, Southern Wood Council (SWC) chairman Grant Dodson says. “Forestry came back from [the Covid-19 lockdown] to very strong economic conditions, particularly in May 2020 where the log prices being offered for logs into Asia for the purpose of restocking were some of the best returns the industry had seen.” There was a moderation of export prices in June and July, however returns are still positive and sit around the five-year average. Established in 2001, the … Read More

Latest NZ Forestry Facts and Figures out

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The latest NZ Forestry Facts and Figures 2019/20 produced by the Forest Owners Association is now available on-line. Due to budget constraints, there are this year no plans to print copies – it is only going to be available on-line. Facts and Figures on the forestry industry is a yearly summary of the state of the industry, including production figures, data on exports, training, health and safety, carbon capture and log prices. The latest edition also includes selected worldwide forest information produced every five years by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. Facts and Figures 2019/20 can … Read More

The 2021 Southern Wood Council Forestry Awards

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The 2020 forestry awards programme for the lower South Island unfortunately had to be cancelled because of COVID-19.  We weren’t alone though.  Every other annual regional award’s programme across the country was cancelled.  The plan though is to run it again in 2021.  It will be time to get back together after a year’s absence.  It will be the sixth major awards evening that will be run for the industry in the lower South Island. The turnout each year continues to be by far, the largest annual gathering of forestry and wood products companies, contractors and transport operators from throughout … Read More

Invercargill City Council finds buyer for forestry

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The Invercargill City Council has a buyer for its forestry estate and the sale now sits with the Overseas Investment Office. Invercargill City Forests Limited – a subsidiary of the council’s holding company, Invercargill City Holdings Limited – owns 14 forests in the South Island of New Zealand. The forests located in Southland, Otago, and Nelson/Marlborough have a combined area of 3599ha and a total productive area of 3058ha, predominantly stocked with radiata pine. Those forestry assets were put on the market in February and New Forests has emerged as a buyer. Australian-based forestry investor New Forests confirmed investment funds … Read More

Primary industry centre of vocational excellence

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Fiona Kingsford, CEO of New Zealand’s industry training organisation, Competenz, has welcomed the government’s announcement of the stakeholder group to establish the Food and Fibre Centre of Vocational Excellence (CoVE). Located in Hawke’s Bay at the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT), the CoVE group involves 54 organisations across the entire food and fibre sector including industry associations, tertiary providers, Māori, employers, employees and standard setting bodies. “Primary industries are critical to our country’s economic recovery, and vocational education plays a big role in upskilling and reskilling existing and new employees in this sector. Now is the time to attract people … Read More

Silvicultural work highlighted in new videos

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Silviculture workers are crucial to the success of New Zealand’s forestry industry. However sometimes the important work they do can be over-shadowed by the harvesting end of the business. But silviculture is where the forestry cycle starts. The planting, pruning, thinning and other work silvi crews do, has a huge impact on the crop as it matures. Good silviculture crews set things up in a way that adds considerable value for forest managers and owners. They also ensure that things can go more smoothly at harvesting time. Silviculture crews do valuable work. They are people worth valuing, investing in and … Read More

New posts on Rural Fire Research Blog

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As a result of the recent research burns and associated publicity, Scion’s fire team now has a number of new videos available for viewing. The team now has its own YouTube video channel, and has updated the Videos link page on the fire research website. The Videos page of the website highlights six recent videos, but now also includes a link to the new Scion Rural Fire Research Youtube channel. The Youtube channel currently contains 23 videos, ranging from media stories on the research burns and other research activities, to videos from the burns themselves, to presentations on other aspects … Read More

Southern Apprentice of the Year awarded

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Wood Council’s across New Zealand this year have had to cancel their annual awards programmes. Measures to tackle the COVID-19 virus and the enforced lockdown of forestry and wood products operations has meant that unfortunately, annual regional celebrations to recognise business and training success have had to be put forward to 2021. It’s been a huge disappointment to all, particularly for those that have stood out over this last year and have put the time and effort into pulling together nominations for the myriad of major annual awards on offer. The Southern Wood Council (SWC) was one of many that … Read More

SWC 2020 Forestry Awards: Event has been cancelled

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The SWC 2020 Forestry Awards has been cancelled. This decision was made after consultation with Members and is due to recent changes in travel policies across various organisations and the directive made by the NZ Government on Thursday 19 March. Due to the current and unprecedented conditions around COVID-19, the Prime Minister’s announcement on banning all meetings indoors in New Zealand to under 100 people and Health directives given on “social distancing”, the decision was made reluctantly on Tuesday 17 March to cancel this year’s SWC Forestry Training Awards that were scheduled to run on the evening of Friday 8 … Read More

Scott Thomas – multi-million dollar machine operator

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Scott Thomas is a young man with an exciting future. Aged just 21, he is currently working for Gamble Forest Harvesting in a fully mechanised 8-man hauler crew. Scott has found his passion, and that is driving big harvesting machines. I caught up with Scott in Flagstaff Forest, part of the City Forests estate high above Dunedin, during a visit with Kevin Marsh, City Forest’s harvesting and OSH coordinator. Here the crew was operating at full tilt, with a daily harvest of 500-600 tonnes of second-rotation radiata pine. This equates to 18-20 truckloads of logs leaving the skid site every … Read More

Logging machinery attract students

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Mike Hurring Logging, the largest harvesting contractor in the Otago and Southland region, held an open day on Saturday 2nd June to promote forestry as a future career choice to local school students and their families. Mike brought back an impressive array of logging machinery from the bush to display to the 200 odd people who attended. There were harvesting machines, skidders, diggers and new state of the art production thinning monsters that were on show. People could get up close and personal with machines that no one can usually get within 100 metres of. Some took the opportunity to … Read More

2018 SWC Forest Products Scholarship

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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 Rob Sheppard, a Bachelor of Forestry Science student, studying at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch. Rob, a mature student, had worked extensively in agriculture and tourism since leaving school. As well as an outdoors background including guiding (canoeing, horse trekking and hiking), instructing and animal control he also has family interests in both sawmilling and farming. Rob was also employed by … Read More

MEDIA RELEASE: Robotics opportunities in forestry being explored

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MEDIA RELEASE 20 February 2018 Robotics opportunities in forestry being explored Forest safety, improving productivity and getting workers off the felling site has been a major push for forestry managers, forest owners, logging contractors and equipment suppliers to modify their wood harvesting operations over the last few years. Another major driver to increased mechanisation has been the skilled machine operator shortages that many forestry companies are now currently facing. The ultimate goal of the industry is to have “no worker on the slope, or no hand on the chainsaw”. Technology development and the pace of change over the last couple … Read More

New training programme for Southern harvesting crews

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Skills shortages and attracting new entrants into harvesting operations is a major issue within the forestry industry right now. It’s been this way for some time and it’s not unique to any one region. In fact, the same issue is being grappled with in every other country with an active forest industry. Harvesting crews are continually being challenged by the lack of young skilled people available to work in rural areas. To address the issue, some forestry companies and contractors are now working alongside some of the technology institutes. The aim is get younger people trained in practical operating skills, … Read More

Spotlight: Working in Forestry

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In this video produced by Southland Youth Futures, a local forestry company, Rayonier/Matarikia, outline the variety of roles that are available to those looking to work within the forestry industry. For more detailed information on the NZ forestry industry, training, career options and job opportunities, visit; Competenz (NZ Industry Training Organisation) – Harvesting Careers and/or Silviculture Careers University of Canterbury – School of Forestry Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology – Department of Forestry and Resource Management

SWC Forest Products Scholarships 2017

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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 … Read More