Vale Thomas Song

Thursday 18 Apr 2019

It is with deep sadness and regret that we advise that Thomas Song, the founding Managing Director of Ernslaw One, has passed away following a sudden illness while on business in Malaysia.

Thomas moved to New Zealand with his family from Sarawak in 1990 following the purchase of state forests by the Malaysian based Tiong family. He then through a succession of purchases and development of new forests built up Ernslaw One to become one of the larger forestry companies in New Zealand.

He was also instrumental in assisting the Tiong family to purchase a number of other businesses in New Zealand through Oregon Group Ltd including the land development company The Neil Group and Winstone Pulp. He later successfully promoted the restructure of the NZ Salmon industry through the formation of NZ King Salmon Ltd which is now listed on the NZX and the ASX.

Thomas developed a reputation for being a strategic thinker and pragmatic in business. He was commercially astute and built high quality enduring business relationships. He invested confidence in his management teams and was held in high regard by the many employees of the businesses that he had oversight of.

Thomas became regarded as a leader in the forestry industry and gave wood processing his best shot. He pioneered carbon markets in the early days of the NZ ETS. His passing will represent a huge loss to the business interests of New Zealand.

Thomas is survived by his wife, Leh Sieng, his son Steven and his daughter Swee Sing and two grandchildren.

Some of you caught up with Thomas at the 50th Jubilee of the NZ Forest Owners Association in Wellington only 3 weeks ago or at the 25th Jubilee of Ernslaw One back in 2015. Thomas was in very good heart on those nights. Let’s remember him that way.

It's likely that there will be a remembrance service for Thomas in Auckland in the near future.

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