Vale Dave Cochrane - Waratah founder and innovator

Thursday 6 Apr 2023

It is a sad day as we reflect on the death of Waratah Forestry Equipment founder, David (Dave) Cochrane, who passed away last week.

Dave established Waratah General Engineering Ltd in Tokoroa on 3rd June 1973 when he was just 28 years old. He created the brand and was an innovator who had a passion for the product and gave everything to create the foundation of what Waratah is today. His leadership in the automation of tree harvesting in New Zealand and globally cannot be understated.

His determination to succeed against the odds from the outside with this revolutionary invention has been responsible for saving countless lives in the forest industry around the world. For an insight into what truly was an amazing life within the forest industry, NZ Forest Industries magazine did a feature article on Dave back in 2002. Read the article here.

Dave passed away peacefully on 31st March, 2023 after a short illness; aged 77 years. He was a much-loved husband of Jill for 46 years. Respected and much-loved father of Alan and Jon, special father-in-law of Kristen, and beloved 'Dave' of Sheppard and Fox. A private cremation has been held. A memorial service to celebrate Dave's life will be held in Whitianga at a date to be advised. All communication to:

Dave had a friendly nature and a big voice and a big smile to go with it. He truly was a legend in NZ forestry machinery development. Vale David, you will be missed among the tall timber in the forest.

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