Female forester toasted 2019 champ

Friday 27 Sep 2019

 
A woman considered the backbone of her company, a camp mum to her crew and a team member who will step into any position was tonight crowned the Northland Forestry Skilled Professional of the Year.

Michelle Harrison, who owns Wise on Wood with husband Nigel, was awarded the top trophy by New Zealand’s Regional Economic Development and Forestry Minister Shane Jones and also won the inaugural PF Olsen Woman in Forestry crown at the fourth annual NFA Northland Forestry Awards before an industry-stacked audience of nearly 500 people.

Those who have worked alongside Michelle had nothing but high praise for this very driven mother of two saying she was always willing to share her knowledge with others and a very talented and capable woman. She was considered a great role model for the industry.

Eighteen years ago, Michelle had married into as well-established logging family, working in the business before she and Nigel started their own ground-based harvesting crew in late 2015. They started small with just two in crew with Michelle initially the log maker and skiddie. The company has grown now, with a crew of seven and Michelle processing more than 350 tonnes a day driving the processor. This year the company notched a record month of in excess of 10,000 tonnes. Michelle also does the office work and the health and safety side of Wise Wood while being a mum, wife, chair of the Okaihau College board of trustees and being with school and sport activities.

She is passionate about the environment and always looking for ways the company can improve its impact on the environment and to protect wildlife within their harvest areas. This year she was instrumental in the relocation of the protected Kauri snails she discovered while helping to prepare an area for harvest. She has also worked with kiwi during and post-harvest, taking on the responsibility of monitoring the birds during harvest. Michelle is hoping to get her kiwi handling licence this year, to be followed by her own kiwi tracking dog.

Wise on Wood has an excellent reputation for its health and safety practices, environmental awareness, producing good returns for forest owners, and all the while keeping harvest managers and staff happy.

Wise on Wood also claimed the Competenz Trainee of the Year with Kiesten-Breeze Repia receiving the certificate and Mark Lavakeiaho walked away with the Forest Industry Contractors Association Emerging Talent of the Year Certificate. Skipps Logging claimed the Blackburne Group Chartered Accountants Contractor of the Year Trophy and the Gough Individual Breaker Out Excellence Award, which went to Caleb Skipps. Rosewarne Cable Loggers picked up two awards, with the company taking out the UDC Training Company/Contractor of the Year crown and Dave Paton winning the AB Equipment Individual Harvesting Excellence Award.

Results
Certificates:

Competenz Trainee of the Year: Kiesten-Breeze Repia (Wise on Wood). UDC Training Company/Contractor of the Year: Rosewarne Cable Loggers. Greenheart Group Forestry Excellence Award (individual): Nick Tombleson (Tombleson Logging Ltd). HPL Roading Excellence Award (individual): Lex Harkness (Trees Out Ltd). AB Equipment Harvesting Excellence Award (individual): Dave Paton (Rosewarne Cable Loggers). Fortuna Distribution Excellence Award: Selwyn Powell (C3). Pacific Motor Group Wood Processing Excellence Award (individual): Ian King (Northpine). Gough Breaker Out Excellence Award (individual): Caleb Skipps (Skipps Logging). Hancock Forest Management Faller Excellence Award (individual): Jason Kay (Northland Forest Managers). Forest Industry Contractors Association Emerging Talent of the Year: Mark Lavakeiaho (Wise on Wood). Woman in Forestry Excellence: Michelle Harrison (Wise on Wood).

Trophies;

Northern Forest Products Ltd Forestry Family of the Year: Lloyd Logging. Blackburne Group Chartered Accountants Contractor of the Year Trophy: Skipps Logging. Summit Forests Outstanding Health and Safety Management Trophy: Wilson Earthmoving. Wise on Wood Outstanding Environmental Management Trophy: Phillips Logging. Northland Forestry Health and Safety Group Northland Forestry Skilled Professional of the Year: Michelle Harrison (Wise on Wood).

Source: Northland Wood Council

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