Foresters celebrate scooping primary industry awards

Friday 16 Apr 2021

The Forest Owners Association says taking out three of the four category prizes in New Zealand’s Primary Industries’ Good Employer Awards this week is a sign the forest sector has come of age as a leading primary sector industry.

FOA Vice President, Grant Dodson, says many people still think the land-based industries are only about food production. “But we have companies and individuals in our forest industry who are equally proud of the work they do. It’s great to see three of them have been recognised through these Ministry for Primary Industry Good Employee Awards.”

“They are representative of many other individuals and companies who are working to high professional standards in our industry. On top of forestry’s key role in absorbing greenhouse gases, the government also expects an increase in our forest products overseas earnings of $2.6 billion within ten years.”

“That’s a growth volume in our primary sector that only horticulture is going to equal. We need good companies and people to achieve this, and doing so well in these awards, against the best in the whole primary sector, shows we can do it.”

The three award winners were; for health and safety, the South Island based forest company Port Blakely, the Māori Agribusiness Award went to Rewi Haulage, which is a Māori owned and operated log trucking company based in Rangitukia north of Gisborne, and the Supreme Winner was Rayonier Matariki Forests which is headquartered in Auckland.

The Supreme Award recognises employers who provide great employment conditions, demonstrate a commitment to diversity, have a highly effective employee development programme and excellent health and safety record.

Managing Director of Rayonier Matariki Forests, Brendan Slui says he’s thrilled to receive such a prestigious accolade for the company’s good employer practices. “We have worked hard to be a successful company and provide a workplace where our people are valued, respected, and contributing at all levels. The calibre and passion of our people are what makes us a great company and one which people want to be a part of.”

Chubb Rewi, (Tūhoe) Director of Rewi Haulage says the award, though a surprise, is a recognition of the way the company runs its business. “The way we do things is orientated to our wider whanau and to help build stronger local communities and businesses which we need. It’s less about individuals.”

Port Blakely’s Health, Safety and Environment Manager, Zac Robinson, says their award is an acknowledgement of the company’s commitment to workplace health and safety and in particular to the people who work in it. “Our excellence comes directly from the passion and commitment of our people, whether they be employees or contractors. Our contractors have embraced all we have been trying to achieve and this is vital. Our health and safety culture is the result of hard work over at least the past decade. And it applies not just to physical safety, but to overall well-being of our people.”

Source: FOA

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