Friday Offcuts – 20 January 2017

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Welcome back. We trust the break has been a good one, that you’re now recharged, refreshed and reinvigorated. We’re delighted to be back. We’re looking forward to working with you again this year bringing the very latest in news, upcoming events, jobs and insights into innovative technologies that we think might assist you in your own business or operation.

We finished last year on such a high note. Leading forestry companies were outlining how drones or UAV’s were really proving their worth out in the forest and were being successfully integrated into a wide array of forestry planning functions and operations across the region. This week we’ve included a story that points out some of the growing pains that are being experienced – not so much by the users but by the drone manufacturers. For drone makers, the market’s big. It’s really big. You could see this over the summer break with drones being operated (I suspect many had just been unwrapped at Christmas) in parks and open spaces across the region.

Globally the drone market is being forecasted to grow an average 32 per cent annually over the next decade reaching and eye watering US$30 billion. Companies like China's DJI, the undisputed king of non-military drones, is currently crushing its competitors. You might like to check out the story below for more of an insight into the manufacturing rationalisation that’s occurring right now.

To start the year, we’ve got a number of good news stories in this first issue including; the recent installation of a new CNC machine (one of only three in Australia) at Hyne’s Maryborough glulam plant, the completion of Forico’s 2016 planting programme (perhaps the largest current plantation establishment programme by a single company in Australia), US$22 million being invested by Stora Enso in Europe in new product lines, biocomposite granule manufacturing and microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) and the recognition in New Zealand’s New Year’s Honours list a couple of weeks ago of a kiwi wood chopper who's well known in our industry (with more than 230 World Championship titles under his belt), Jason Wynyard.

Finally, in the lead up to Christmas and over the summer break, registrations to two of the early FIEA technology programmes flooded in. Already, close to 500 registrations have been received for the upcoming Forest Industry Safety Summit running in early March and MobileTECH 2017 that runs in Rotorua a couple of weeks later. It’s expected that these events are going to be sold out. So if looking to secure a space, best get onto it shortly. For your own information, full details of the tech programmes being planned by FIEA have also being listed in a story below. That’s it for the first week back. Enjoy this week’s read.



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7 million seedling planting programme completed

Forico this week demonstrated its long-term commitment to the plantation forestry sector in Tasmania as it completed its extensive 2016 planting programme. A total of 7 million seedlings (more than 6,300 ha) were planted during the season from September to early January.

“This is perhaps the largest current plantation establishment programme by a single company in Australia,” said CEO, Bryan Hayes. More than 60 people have been engaged by Forico and its contractors to achieve the target area of reforestation at a cost of AU$15m. “We are especially grateful for the contribution of all of our service providers and our staff in achieving this historic result,” said Mr Hayes.

Since its establishment by forestry investment manager New Forests in September 2014, Forico has planted 3,582 ha in 2015 and now 6,300 ha in 2016, clearly demonstrating that it is here for the long term.

All Forico land and forests, both plantation (100,000 ha) and native forests (81,000 ha) are certified against the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Forest Management standard and PEFC Australian Forestry Standard.

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Queensland Council announces Wood Policy

Timber Queensland has welcomed this week’s announcement from the Fraser Coast Council that they are Queensland’s first Council to adopt a Wood Encouragement Policy (WEP), delivering economic and environmental benefits for the region.

Timber Queensland’s CEO Mick Stephens said the Council’s WEP requires responsibly sourced wood to be considered as a first-choice construction material in all new-build and refurbishment projects when it is equally fit-for-purpose.

“Fraser Coast Council are to be congratulated for leading the way in Queensland with the introduction of this policy which not only supports the forest and timber industry but will generate significant carbon benefits,” said Mr Stephens. Mr Stephens said he is confident other Queensland Councils will introduce similar WEPs in the near future, given the strong level of interest in this innovative new policy.

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Reality hits drone manufacturing industry

Attendees at the recent Consumer Electronics Show could play around with a dizzying array of unmanned aerial vehicles. Drones that take selfies. Drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras to see at night. Drones that help fishermen chase their prey.

No use is too niche as drone-makers chase a market that's forecast to grow an average 32 per cent annually over the next decade to reach US$30 billion, according to ABI Research. But away from the showroom floor, a chill has settled on a once-hyped market.

France's Parrot SA, the second-largest maker of non-military drones, is laying off a third of its staff because margins on its consumer drones were "insufficient to deliver profitable growth". That's a remarkable statement from the company that pioneered cheap consumer drones in 2009 and now focuses on those priced between US$100 and US$500. Almost 60 per cent of Parrot's revenue is from drones.

There are two reasons for Parrot's woes. First, it's withering under the competitive onslaught from China's DJI, the undisputed king of non-military drones. DJI makes higher-end models pitched at hobbyists and businesses, which use them for everything from crop inspection to construction. The venture-backed company controls the entire process from design to manufacturing, making it more efficient than outsourcing rivals, and with better products. Lately DJI has gotten more aggressive on price, competitors say.

Dozens of cookie-cutter drone-makers have also popped up in Asia, further driving prices down. Even camera-makers such as GoPro tried their hand only to find the business harder than it looked. GoPro's Karma drone suffered power outages that made some fall out of the sky.

The sector's following a familiar script for hardware. Commoditisation comes fast, even when a segment is growing rapidly. Scale becomes more important than brand. Profit margins can be thin: just ask makers of flat-screen TVs or smartphone makers other than Apple and Samsung.

The shake-out is just coming quicker than investors expected. As recently as 2015, venture capitalists were throwing money at startups. Now layoffs are more common than big fund-raising rounds. Smaller Chinese player Zerotech fired a quarter of its workers in December. Third-placed 3D Robotics laid people off and decided to stop making drones altogether last year, citing DJI price cuts of 70 per cent. It's now focusing on making software to power drones and offering services to companies.

Source: stuff.co.nz

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Technology key to forest safety advances

“Technology is vital in many new safety improvements in the forest industry – and the upcoming Forest Safety Summit will be showcasing them and the people who established them,” says Forest Industry Engineering Association event manager, Gordon Thomson.

Since early December, FIEA has been extremely busy with Safety Summit registrations. The industry response has been huge, says Thomson. Forest industry leaders have been very proactive in safety even before health and safety laws were reformed he added.

Only 4 exhibitor stands are still available and well over half of the conference seats are sold already. Now is the time to register to make sure you don't miss out. Special offers are now being made available to members of other industry associations across the forest industries. To take advantage of this offer, go to www.forestsafety.events.

“At our March conference people will see technology is key to new safety advances that industry leaders have made. The speed of adoption by practical forestry people has been encouraging. Many innovators have already provided safety outcomes for their teams and clients. So, the case studies they will bring are proven to deliver results,” adds Thomson.

“For the first time, FIEA has teamed up with the Forest Industry Safety Council (FISC) to organise a workshop as part of the Safety Summit,” says Thomson. “Working with Fiona Ewing of FISC has led us to include a series of workshops and panel sessions for people to interact – from the forest floor to the CEOs.”

Two key technology speakers are:

- Richard Lawler, Director of Engineering, Forestry for John Deere Forestry from USA. Richard has worked closely with developments in steep slope harvesting in both North America and New Zealand.
- Jim French is an industry solutions specialist across Australasia for Teletrac Navman. For over 20 years he has shared his passion for GPS asset tracking with practical contractors to satisfy their needs.

FIEA is pleased that so many local industry leaders and safety champions have come forward to support the 3rd FIEA Forest Industry Safety Summit. This conference series sold out in previous years, and is running again in March 2017 in Rotorua and Melbourne. The summit runs 1st & 2nd March 2017 in Rotorua at the Distinction Hotel. The following week it moves to the Bayview Eden Hotel in Melbourne running on 7th &8th March. For full details visit: www.forestsafety.events.



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Stora Enso investing US$22 m in product development

Stora Enso is investing US$12.7 million to build a new production line that will manufacture biocomposite granules at their Hylte Mill in Sweden. Biocomposite granules are a mix of wood fibres, polymers and additives and are used as raw material for injection moulding and the extrusion of products traditionally manufactured solely from plastic. Production is scheduled to begin during the first quarter of 2018. The annual capacity will be approximately 15 000 tonnes per year. The ramp-up of the new production line and a new type of manufacturing is expected to take 2–3 years.

“This investment is part of Stora Enso’s transformation into a renewable materials company and demonstrates our ability to provide an innovative and more sustainable alternative to plastics. With this new biocomposite production line, we are well positioned to capture growth opportunities in climate and environmental friendly materials,” says Jari Suominen, EVP, Head of Stora Enso’s Wood Products division.

The company is also investing US$9.6 million into its consumer board mills in Imatra and Ingerois, Finland, and Fors, Sweden, to continue the commercialisation of microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) and to accelerate product development.

With these new investments, Stora Enso will accelerate the product development of new MFC applications. Due to its exceptionally high strength properties and 100% renewable raw materials, MFC is designed to outperform current fossil-based materials, such as plastics, in a variety of applications.

In its MFC development, Stora Enso has initially focused on the liquid packaging board segment, being the first company to have successfully launched a commercial paperboard packaging including MFC. The plants are scheduled to start production by the end of 2017 and expected to reach full production within 3 to 5 years.

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Tenon in talks to sell remaining NZ assets

Tenon, which sold its US operations for US$110 million, is in exclusive talks with a potential buyer of its remaining New Zealand assets, which would see the former Fletcher Challenge entity wound up.

In late December, the company distributed US$71 million to shareholders, cancelling one out of every two shares held and returning $2.20 per cancelled share. The company has entered exclusive talks with one party with the goal of signing a sale and purchase agreement for its Clearwood New Zealand business, it said in a statement. If a deal is signed, surplus cash would be returned to shareholders and the company liquidated at an estimated cost of US$8 million.

"The proposal is conditional upon a number of items (including Tenon shareholder and court approvals) which Tenon is currently assessing," it said. "Grant Samuel will be asked to prepare an updated independent report to Tenon shareholders once final agreement has been reached."

The New Zealand business was valued at between US$63.3 million and US$74.1 million in independent adviser Grant Samuel’s report on the US transaction. Its sales rose 5 percent to US$81 million in the year ended June 30 while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation more than doubled to US$12 million.

Source: BusinessDesk via Scoop


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Upcoming tech events plannned for this year

After an incredibly busy 2016, the Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) has in conjunction with a wide cross section of industry on both sides of the Tasman, developed an Events Planner for the upcoming year. With again very high turnouts at all FIEA technology events that have been run last year, we’re really excited with what 2017 holds.

The Events Planner will enable; forestry and wood products companies to pencil the dates into your own calendar for the upcoming year and industry associations, research organisations and those involved in setting up your own programmes for 2017 to take note of the dates (and ideally look to dovetail in to the tech events timing and location to add value to the industry and those likely to attend).

For product and service suppliers, we hope this forward planning will also enable you to schedule your involvement and to budget early on in the year to the relevant tech event and for overseas suppliers, it will enable you to lock in a time to plan visits to your key customers or distributors in Australia and New Zealand and to link in to the relevant technology events in this part of the world this year.

FIEA technology events being planned for 2017 include;

1. Forest Industry Safety Summit 2017
People, Safety & Technology
1-2 March 2017, Rotorua, New Zealand
7-8 March 2017, Melbourne, Australia
www. www.forestsafety.events

2. HarvestTECH 2017
Steep Slope Logging – Mechanisation & Automation – Harvest Planning
20-21 June 2017
www.harvestTECH.events

3. WoodTECH 2017
Wood Scanning – Sawing – Mill Optimisation
20-21 September, Melbourne, Australia
26-27 September, Rotorua, New Zealand

www.woodtech.events

4. ForestTECH 2017
Data Collection & Management – Remote Sensing – Mobile Communications & GIS
15-16 November 2016, Rotorua, New Zealand
21-22 November 2014, Melbourne, Australia

www.foresttech.events

Other technology events being planned;

1. International Steep Slope Logging Conference
20 April 2017, Kelso, WA, USA
www.steepslopelogging.events

2. MobileTECH 2017
Primary Industries – Disruptive Innovations Reshaping the Sector
22-23 March, Rotorua, New Zealand
www.mobileTECH.events

A Mid-rise Timber Buildings event in New Zealand in June is also being planned at the moment. Further details will follow.

Mark the dates into your 2017 calendars. At this early stage, if interested in either presenting or exhibiting, let us know and if appropriate, we can look to build you into the planned programmes.

Attached for your information is a PDF of 2017 Technology Events which provides you with further information on the schedule of tech events planned for this year.



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Dongwha NZ MDF plant increased capacity by 20%

In Mataura, a town at the southern tip of New Zealand's South Island, there is a large manufacturing plant. The 181,500-square-meter-facility, on a 1.25 million-square-metre lot, produces medium-density fiberboard (MDF). The plant is operated by Dongwha New Zealand, an overseas arm of Dongwha Enterprise, a Korean wood material manufacturer.

Dongwha's acquisition of the MDF plant in New Zealand is part of its ambitious plan to expand overseas. Since the Asian financial crisis that hit the country in 1997, Dongwha recognized the limited growth potential of the domestic wood material market. For sustainable growth, Dongwha started expanding into overseas markets.

Since then, Dongwha has launched three MDF manufacturing facilities in Malaysia's Merbok, Kulim and Nilai, as well as one in Bombala, Australia. It also acquired Rayonier New Zealand in August 2005, giving birth to Dongwha New Zealand.

While Rayonier is a U.S. company, workers of Rayonier New Zealand were New Zealanders. Acquisition by Dongwha led to the mixing of three cultures. The differences in terms of culture, as well as business practices, initially led to hurdles for Dongwha's localization efforts.

However, Dongwha took the best of each, making use of its technology and the marketing knowhow it had accumulated doing business over past decades, while adopting a Western system and continuing social contribution activities for the regional community.

Dongwha Group, which started in 1948 as a wood producer, has grown into one of Asia's leading players in the decorative building materials market. Its portfolio includes wood boards, chemicals, construction and homebuilding materials and other products.

Dongwha New Zealand has been continuing to grow. The annual manufacturing capacity of Rayonier's New Zealand plant was around 170,000 cubic meters when Dongwha acquired it, but production has grown more than 20 percent since. Dongwha New Zealand marked record highs in terms of monthly production and sales as well as operating profit last year, while achieving its lowest manufacturing cost.

An executive at Dongwha compared the achievements to a grand slam in sports. "Most of the ideas for lowering costs are based on suggestions by our employees," he said. "We have been continuing innovative efforts to strengthen our competitive edge, which helps us maintain good performance regardless of changes in external surroundings."

Currently, New Zealand's MDF market is dominated by three major companies, including Dongwha New Zealand. Except for Dongwha, however, the other players mostly target the Japanese market. The company exports to 16 countries including Japan, the United States and China, and several Southeast Asian countries.

Source: The Korea Times

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Gippsland mill concerned with future log supplies

Several major papers this week covered the story of potential job losses in Gippsland, with a mill that processes wood from Victorian forests. They were suggesting 250 jobs are under threat unless a substantial supply of timber is secured soon. The closure threat from Australian Sustainable Hardwoods in Heyfield comes at a difficult time for the Andrews government in Gippsland, after energy giant Engie announced it would close the Hazelwood power plant at Morwell.

The mill processes Victorian ash species hardwood, including from the politically and environmentally-sensitive central highlands, home of the endangered Leadbeater's Possum. It is a major employer in the town of 2000 people. State-owned agency VicForests says the supply of ash timber needs to be reduced from current levels because of modelling around future timber resources.

Mill management were to meet with staff this Thursday to outline their plight. It is understood without a contract for supply of at least 120,000 cubic metres of wood by June next year, it will be forced to shut down. The mill processes 155,000 cubic metres of hardwood every year and has over 250 direct employees and contractors, the company says.

The Herald Sun reported yesterday that the despite repeated attempts to engage with the Government to attain a new long term supply agreement, Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford and her staff have refused to meet with ASH representatives. Ms Pulford’s spokesman said VicForests was continuing to negotiate with ASH about a future sale agreement. More >>. For coverage by ABC News, click here.

Source: The Age

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Global sawlog prices trending downwards

Sawlog prices have trended downward throughout the world over the past two years with the GSPI Index being 14.3% lower in the 3Q/16 than in the 3Q/14, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly. Global sawlogs prices fell in the 3Q/16 after a temporary increase in the 2Q/16 following an almost two year-long downward trend. The Global Sawlog Price Index (GSPI) has fallen by 14.3% in two years and is currently almost 12% below the ten-year average and 21% down from the all-time high in the second quarter of 2011.

The biggest price declines quarter-over-quarter occurred in British Colombia, Eastern Canada, Poland and Sweden. Although most key lumber-producing countries experienced lower log costs in the 3Q/16, there were also several regions where prices increased in US dollar terms, including Brazil, Russia, Norway and New Zealand. The major reason for the higher prices in this group of countries has been the strengthening of the currencies relative to the US dollar. In the local currencies, log price adjustments have been minimal in 2016.

Over the past two years, sawlog prices have fallen the least (just over five percent) in North America as compared to Latin America and Oceania, where prices were down by about 14%, and in Europe where prices currently are more than 20% below 2014 prices, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly. The biggest price declines on the European continent have been in Central Europe.

Regional sawlog prices around the world have generally converged during 2015 and 2016 with prices in high-cost regions having declined more than prices in low-cost regions. Despite these developments, price discrepancies between the large lumber-producing regions of the world have been higher in 2016 than they were back in 2000-2005.

Note: The GSPI Price Index is a volume-weighted price index comprising of average sawlog prices in 20 of the largest sawlog-consuming regions of the world. The Index tracks prices from the 1Q/95 to the current quarter and is published each quarter in the WRQ.

Source: Wood Resources International, www.woodprices.com





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Hyne Timber scales up Glulam Plant

Hyne Timber's Glue Laminating Plant (Glulam) in Maryborough is scaling up ahead of the Mass Timber Construction boom in Australia. The plant has recently commissioned their new, state of the art CNC machine called a Hundegger K2i which will make the supply of engineered timber even quicker and cost efficient.

Robert Mansell, Hyne Timber’s Business Development Manager - Commercial, said it is an automatic joinery machine that can cut, drill, slot and profile timber dimensions ranging from 50mm x 20mm to 1200mm x 300mm up to 19m long.

"It can be programmed from CAD drawings to give a high level of accuracy, increasing the fabrication services capability, reducing the time it takes to quote and complete prefabricated timber projects. Its revolutionary handling system with two gripper and guide wagons guarantees maximum precision during processing." Mr Mansell said.

"It has timber designers and engineers frothing at the mouth and opens up a whole range of cost effective structural and aesthetic solutions for designers and architects alike." Mr Mansell said. The universal, flexible machine is used around the world by leading timber companies for a range of timber solutions and is adaptable to specific requirements of the customer due to its modular construction.

"These qualities combined are what attracted our investment”. The machine is understood to be one of only three in Australia, and the only machine of its type in Queensland.

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NZ wood chopper recognised in New Years’ Honours

Jason Wynyard of Auckland received an Order of Merit from the New Zealand government for services to the sport of wood chopping. Mr Wynyard has won more than 230 World Championship titles and is unparalleled in the sport of wood chopping.

At 16 Mr Wynyard was the youngest ever competitor when he first represented New Zealand with the New Zealand Axemen Association Team in 1990 and has been a critical part of the team since then. He is currently the Stihl Timbersport World Champion and has been on six previous occasions.

He won 10 USA Stihl Championships before the event was closed to competitors from outside the United States. At wood chopping’s premier event, at the Royal Sydney Easter Show, he has held the Champion of Champions title on three occasions.

In 1991 he won the New Zealand Underhand Championship along with both juniors’ events and has consistently had podium results since then. He holds 27 New Zealand records and a number of world records, his oldest standing world record having been set in 1994 for the 350mm Underhand Tarire.

He is an ambassador for the sport of wood chopping and has taken time to organise events in Auckland. Mr Wynyard has played a role in the diversification of the sport in New Zealand by promoting the Hot Saw Competition, which has seen growth in younger membership.

Source: NZ New Year Honours List



Forest biodiversity research revolutionised

A team of scientists from Australia, Brazil and Spain have joined forces to develop the most sophisticated remote monitoring system ever used to track the diminishing biodiversity of South America's Amazon Jungle. The project will revolutionise the way biodiversity is monitored by creating a distributed, wireless sensor network throughout the jungle with autonomous nodes that continuously monitor wildlife under the canopy of the Amazon Forest.

The team has been granted nearly $2 million by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, a philanthropic funding body established by Gordon Moore – the founder of Intel – to carry out the first stage of this biodiversity monitoring project. The four research partners involved in the project, dubbed Providence, are meeting in Australia at the end of last year to commence phase one.

Dr Alberto Elfes, research scientist at CSIRO's Data61 and leader of the Australian arm of Providence, said species were being extinguished at a faster rate than we can catalogue them, but accurate biodiversity assessments were difficult to obtain. "Remote sensing satellites and science aircraft provide a wealth of data about broad changes in forest cover, deforestation and land use, but these methods reveal almost nothing about the true story of biodiversity beneath the forest canopy," Dr Elfes said.

"Biodiversity assessments are difficult to carry out in rugged and remote areas using traditional methods. Researchers need to trek into the jungle to count the species they see and hear, and it can be quite dangerous as tropical rainforests are very inhospitable to humans. Our technological innovation to monitor biodiversity in the Amazon is on a scale that hasn't been seen before, and will use multiple technologies including acoustics, visual and thermal imaging”.

"This work will also benefit forest biodiversity research in Australia and other countries worldwide. The new technology will have a major impact on measuring and preserving the Amazon's ecosystem, allowing researchers, governments and the public to understand and monitor the impact of changes in forest cover and biodiversity”.

Phase one of Providence we field test 10 trial monitoring devices in the Amazon, to create a wireless network of sensor nodes. Phase two will scale up to around 100 nodes in the Amazon basin and phase three will see up to 1000 nodes installed.

CEO of CSIRO's Data61, Mr Adrian Turner, said Project Providence brings together and extends state-of-the-art wildlife monitoring techniques in species identification, data compression and transmission, and energy management.

"The integration of technologies involved in the Providence project will revolutionise the way we monitor biodiversity in tropical forests around the world," Mr Turner said. “Providence will enable, for the first time, the establishment of an accurate recording and assessment system of the biodiversity status of this region in the Amazon, and provide a warning system alerting us to any change that could threaten the amazing wildlife resident there."

Source: CSIRO

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New Chief Executive appointed for Scion

Chairman of the Scion Board, Tony Nowell, announced late last year the appointment of Dr Julian Elder as the NZ Crown Research Institute’s incoming Chief Executive. Dr Elder will succeed current Chief Executive Dr Warren Parker upon his retirement from the role in early 2017.

Dr Elder is a deeply experienced chief executive, having had leadership roles for large-scale civil infrastructure projects in waste treatment, renewables, telecommunications, energy and water. He has a successful track record leading multi-stakeholder complex ventures, delivering sustained profitable growth to utility, contracting and professional services businesses across Asia Pacific.

Mr Nowell says Dr Elder brings extensive commercial experience in business development, performance and risk management, most recently having lead WEL Networks Limited from 2007 to 2014 and the associated Waikato Networks Limited from 2011 to 2014, doubling the size of the combined business during his tenure. Prior to that role, he was Chief Engineer at Watercare Services from 2005 to 2007.

Dr Elder is passionate about health and safety, commercial excellence and customer service. He is recognised for innovation and thought leadership and has significant experience in commercialising technology and raising investment to support this.

Graduating from the University of Auckland with a PhD in Electrical Engineering in 1984, Dr Elder is a Chartered Member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors, and current director of Flick Electric Company, Soda Inc., Enterprise Angels and until recently a director of Strada Corporation Limited, NZ Wind Farms, a Trustee of the Waikato Animal Welfare Foundation and a member of the University of Waikato Honours Committee.

Dr Elder is excited to join Scion at this positive time for the forest industry and as Scion steps-up its focus on commercialising the technology it develops. Scion is also undertaking major development initiatives to further modernise its facilities and establish at its Rotorua Campus a world leading Innovation Hub for the forest industry, advanced manufacturing of wood and biomaterials, and commercialisation of related technology.

Dr Elder will join Scion from early February to work with Dr Parker for a hand over period of one month and will fully take-up the CEO reins from 1 March. This will ensure a smooth transition during an important period of strategic planning and industry interaction and will ensure that Scion’s current momentum in science and implementing major facilities projects is sustained.

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Jobs


Buy and Sell


... and one to end the week on ... my story and I'm sticking to it

A classic. This is a great IKEA advert - plenty of wood and with typical French style!





And one more for you for the first issue of 2017 - a late Christmas tale sent in by a reader. This came in late last year (too late for the final issue). It really is a Christmas story just to good not to pass on.

A man with a bald head and a wooden leg is invited to a Xmas fancy dress party. He doesn't know what to wear to hide his head and his wooden leg, so he writes to a fancy-dress company to explain his problem. A few days later he receives a parcel with a note:

Dear Sir,

Please find enclosed a Pirate’s outfit. The spotted handkerchief will cover your bald head and with your wooden leg you will be just right as a Pirate. The man is offended that the outfit emphasizes his disability, so he writes a letter of complaint. A week passes and he receives another parcel and note.

Dear Sir,

Sorry about the previous parcel. Please find enclosed a monk's habit. The long robe will cover your wooden leg and with your bald head you will really look the part. The man is really incandescent with rage now, because the company has gone from emphasizing his wooden leg to drawing attention to his bald head. So, he writes a really strong letter of complaint. A few days later he gets a very small parcel from the company with the accompanying letter:

Dear Sir,

Please find enclosed a tin of Golden Syrup. We suggest you pour the tin of Golden Syrup over your bald head, let it harden, then stick your wooden leg up your **** and go as a toffee apple.






And on these notes, enjoy your upcoming weekend. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
Distinction Dunedin Hotel
6 Liverpool Street, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
PO Box 904, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Tel: +64 (03) 470 1902, Mob: +64 21 227 5177, Fax: +64 (03) 470 1906
Web page: www.fridayoffcuts.com


This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at www.fridayoffcuts.com

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