Friday Offcuts – 24 February 2023

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In addition to the devastation that Cyclone Gabriella has brought to communities across the North and East Coast of the North Island, the forestry slash issue and damage that logs, debris and silt have caused after record rainfalls has received plenty of attention over this last week. The images of slash piles and resultant damage are stark. Blame, rightly or wrongly, is being attached to the forestry industry and pressure to do something to provide long- lasting solutions has been mounting.

As a result, an immediate Ministerial inquiry into land use that's caused woody debris, including forestry slash, and sediment-related damage in Tairāwhiti/Gisborne and Wairoa areas was announced yesterday. It’s a quick turn-around (ambitious?) as well. The independent panel is expected to report back in just two months. They’ll be investigating past and current land-use practices and the impact that woody debris including forestry slash and sediment has had on communities. They've been tasked with making recommendations on improving land use including changes needed to practices and regulation at both central and local government levels.

Because of the huge impact on the affected regions, we’ve included a cross section of stories appearing recently on waterway slash. We’ve also built in commentary on the immediate impacts that the aftermath of the cyclone is having on wood processors, forest owners and forestry contractors. Although badly impacted and with many having family homes damaged and being unable to work, forestry, forest roading and wood harvesting crews, both inside and from outside flood damaged regions, are right now helping in the massive clean-up operations that are underway.

In other news, we’ve reported recently on how the development of new fossil-free fuels for passenger and heavy-duty vehicles has been nothing short of phenomenal. Much of the focus has been on electric vehicles. Sales records are being smashed every single month and globally, more electric vehicles are now sold every week than in the whole of 2012. Interest though in hydrogen powered vehicles has also been ramping up – and quickly.

Their appeal? Instead of being charged from an external source, they produce their own on-board electricity with the only by-product emitted being water vapour. The European Commission is expecting 60,000 hydrogen trucks on European roads by 2030. At North America’s largest construction show next month a new hydrogen combustion engine rather than a hydrogen fuel cell is being unveiled by a company that specialises in the construction and agricultural industries. The roll out and early adoption of these alternative fuels by forestry and log transport companies are going to be showcased for the first time at this year’s Wood Transport & Logistics 2023 event being run in Rotorua, New Zealand on 24-25 May.

Finally, for those interested in mass timber technology developments, including LVL and CLT, as part of a New Zealand series this year, a South Island event, WoodWorks 2023 South has been set up for the first time and is running in Christchurch on 28-29 March. Further details can be found in the story below.

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Inquiry to investigate forestry slash and land use

A NZ Ministerial inquiry will be held into land use causing woody debris, including forestry slash, and sediment-related damage in Tairāwhiti/Gisborne and Wairoa. The two-month inquiry will help address the impacts of weather events such as cyclones Hale and Gabrielle and earlier events.

It will investigate past and current land-use practices and the impact of woody debris including forestry slash and sediment on communities, livestock, buildings and the environment. It will also look at associated economic drivers and constraints.

The inquiry members are former government minister and Gisborne resident Hon Hekia Parata (Chair), former regional council chief executive Bill Bayfield, and forestry engineer Matthew McCloy.

“Woody debris and sediment are particular issues for these communities following storms. More than 10,000 people in Tairāwhiti have petitioned for land use to be better managed. This inquiry is responding to these very real concerns,” Forestry Minister Stuart Nash said.

The inquiry will investigate storm damage and its causes, current practices and regulatory and policy settings. “The panel’s recommendations, expected by the end of April, will assist local and central government respond to the severe weather events we are experiencing in New Zealand,’’ Environment Minister David Parker said.

The panel will make recommendations to improve land use including changes needed to practices and regulation at central and local government levels. This can include consideration of forestry practices, Resource Management Act plans and National Direction. For example, the National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry and the Tairāwhiti and Wairoa District Resource Management Plans.

People in affected communities and the wider public will be invited to provide feedback to the panel.

David Parker said decisions on prosecutions are a matter for the local councils under the Resource Management Act. In 2018 the Gisborne District Council showed it was prepared to take action, successfully prosecuting five forestry companies for poor forestry harvesting & management. Judge Dwyer at the time-imposed fines ranging from NZ$124,700 to NZ$379,500.

The Government has since moved to increase the maximum available fines for environmental offences and introduce new tools to assist enforcement as part of the resource management reforms now before parliament and due to pass into law before the election.

This will increase the maximum fines from the current NZ$300,000 to NZ$1 million for natural persons and from NZ$600,000 to NZ$10 million for companies. It is also proposed insurance is no longer able to be used to pay infringement or prosecution fines.

In response, forest owners say that two months is too brief to look into the complex land issues in tairāwhiti. Read More >>

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Fears for forestry contractor livelihoods

New Zealand’s forestry contractors in the Tairawhiti, Hawkes Bay, Coromandel and Northland regions are facing immense pressure and compounding challenges post-cyclone Gabrielle. Planted forest in these combined regions makes up almost 30% of the national forestry plantation.

While the full extent of damage to the forestry industry is still being assessed, reports of forestry contractors being under immense pressure are starting to come in. Forest Industry Contractors Association CEO Prue Younger, who lives in Napier, is on the ground in one of the worst hit areas and says livelihoods are most definitely at risk.

“Some contractors will have lost their livelihoods this week. Many are already under immense financial pressure after a few very tough years since the pandemic started. There will most certainly be some that won’t recover from this,” she says. “Some Gisborne crews have been off since their 16 December pre-Christmas shutdown. Then Cyclone Hale hit on 10 Jan, followed by no access for trucks across broken roads, meaning lost income for two straight months.”

“Now with Gabrielle, who knows what lies ahead. There is no certainty when roads will re-open, with land stability of forestry sites and expensive gear inaccessible, lost revenue and port access and operation all compounding the issue. In Hawkes Bay the Pan-Pac mill is non-operational and the outlook isn’t good. That will have a massive impact,” she says.

“With all these growing challenges, our primary concern is for the people in the industry. Not only are there hundreds of employees affected, but the figure gets into the thousands when you consider the wider supply chain and service providers.” While the issue of slash in the Tairawhiti region has been dominating the forestry narrative in cyclone coverage so far, it’s a much more complex issue than what is being reported.

“While it is most definitely an issue, this is also an unprecedented once in a century storm compounded by record rainfall for the entire summer. There is an assumption that all woody debris has been caused by commercial forestry, but this is not the case,” she says.

Forestry slash, harvesting practices, land use and pine plantations are generally misunderstood by the public and we look forward to the enquiry instigated by the Tairawhiti region post the January heavy rain event. That will give us all a better education and guidelines to an Industry that is still the third biggest contributor to our economy.

“This is an important issue that must be addressed and resolved. Industry needs to work together with government and local authorities to find collective solutions as effective management needs to become part of a social licence to operate while maintaining an international competitive industry.”

“It should be recognised that forestry contractors are contracted to do a job for which they must follow Best Practice Guidelines, Resource Consents, and forest owner guidelines. All of which are and are constantly monitored and audited by the forest owner or manager for which they are contracted to.”

More importantly, at present FICA is working as an industry contractor representative to relocate and reposition the workforce to other regions and to other jobs, to support crisis-stricken areas, as it will be sometime for many crews to get back to any significant production.

Commentary on the potential impacts for the wider forestry industry in those regions hit by the cyclone can be read here.

Also, details from a meeting yesterday between the union representing forestry workers (nearly 500 workers are unable to work in areas which remained inaccessible or unstable) with the Ministry of Social Development to develop a support plan for the Cyclone Gabrielle recovery can be read here.

Source: FICA, Stuff, RNZ

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Donations flowing into TUMU Group Relief Fund

Donations have been flowing into the TUMU Group Relief Fund in the past 24 hours as the extent of the damage to the horticultural and agricultural sectors in Hawke’s Bay and Tairawhiti becomes better understood around New Zealand.

Donations as of mid-Wednesday have included NZ$50,000 in cash and NZ$100,000 in timber to be donated to community rebuild projects from Rotorua-based Red Stag Timber, and other sizeable donations from other corporate entities including Generate, Koppers Performance Chemicals NZ Ltd, and Stratco. Red Stag has also made a NZ$100,000 donation to the Hawke’s Bay Foundation, which has set up a relief fund to funnel donations to welfare agencies.

TUMU Group holding company director Brendan O’Sullivan said the group had mobilised quickly to get immediate support to isolated rural communities, drawing on the initial NZ$100k funding provided by the group itself. So far fuel, pet food and other supplies have been air dropped to Rissington, Patoka, Tutira and Whanawhana. More drops are planned in the coming days.

“We are only getting to better understand the extent of this event and it is bigger and more tragic than people realise,” said Mr O’Sullivan. “Our isolated rural communities have been overwhelmed, some even moved to tears, by people’s generosity. We have to keep up the momentum to ensure they keep getting the support they need,” he said.

“With our relief fund, and that of the Hawke’s Bay Foundation, we have two very effective and efficient ways to distribute widely to our local communities and we are thankful for that. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has made a donation so far, as well as all the people on the ground pulling together to get the job done as quickly as possible.”

Anyone wanting to donate to the relief fund through the group’s charitable trust, The Evergreen Foundation, can do so on TUMU Relief Fund. Regular updates will be provided on the group’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

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Mass timber building technologies: Learning and earning

For the first time, two WoodWorks NZ Conferences have been set up this year. A new feature has been added with site visits included in the 2-day programme. The ability to gain CPD points for several building industry professions has also been built in to the series.

To see which professional bodies offer CPD points for members click here.

Mainlanders take note. We are coming to Christchurch with the first of two mass timber conferences on 28-29 March. Click here to register for WoodWorks 23 South.

Who should attend? A conference programme with broad appeal to architects and architectural designers, quantity surveyors, construction and project managers and engineers alike, has been set up. Conference sessions have been designed to be interactive with a Q+A panel session for every 2-3 speakers, allowing plenty of time to get the inside story from speakers.

With limited seats available we suggest you register your teams as soon as possible. Thanks to our speakers we have a practical and varied programme for you. From “The Hidden Opportunities” presentation by Barry Lynch from V-Quest to “A Developer’s View of Mass Timber in Construction” by Antony Leighs form Leighs Construction Holdings, we have something for everyone across our industry.

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The slash aftermath from Cyclone Gabrielle

Commentary on the impacts of forestry slash and on changes that ought to be implemented by the NZ forestry industry as a consequence of recent damage to East Coast communities has been front and centre of recent media coverage. Links to some of the recent articles are included below:

Wall of wood: The trouble with forestry slash.

Victims Of Forestry Slash Deserve Accountability

Cyclone Gabrielle: Political consensus builds for review into forestry slash

Cyclone Gabrielle triggered more destructive forestry slash

Forestry slash has destroyed tairawhiti. Who should pick up the bill

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Hydrogen technology to debut on international stage

JCB will feature its new hydrogen combustion engine—the company’s solution for zero carbon emissions for construction and agricultural equipment on the international stage at North America’s largest construction show, CONEXPO/CON-AGG (CONEXPO) 2023 in mid-March. The hydrogen combustion engine from JCB has been revealed during a media event in England.

Initially, the company designed an excavator that used a hydrogen fuel cell. However, after testing, the team decided that fuel cell technology was not the best option for their customers. They decided to move toward a hydrogen-combustion solution.

JCB Chairman Lord Bamford leads the project to develop JCB’s hydrogen technology. He said, “The JCB engineering team has made enormous strides in a short space of time to develop a hydrogen internal combustion engine, and it already powers a JCB prototype backhoe loader and a load-all telescopic handler. As the first construction equipment company to develop a fully working combustion engine fueled by hydrogen, I’m delighted we are now able to present this technology on the international stage.”

Wanting to be a leader in environmental, social and governance for the construction equipment sector, JCB has been responsible for a series of innovations on its road to zero. It developed the first battery-electric mini excavator and has developed zero-carbon products with its e-tech range. JCB has a large range of electric construction equipment already, which will be shown at CONEXPO.

Learn more from the JCB press release.


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Pan Pac littered with timber, logs and debris

Last week water has started to recede from Pan Pac after Tuesday’s devastating cyclone left parts of the forestry company’s Whirinaki site underwater but it could be weeks before it opens again. The floodwaters may be receding now, however, you don’t have to look far for a reminder of how high they were.

At the front of the site stands a red-brick security office where you can still see a thick water line over halfway up the wall, indicating how far underwater parts of the premises would have been. The site is starting to dry off and only a small team of workers is allowed back through the gate to assess the damage.

From the front gates, a reporter could see a tangled pile of trees, logs and timber debris stacked against office blocks and the mill shed. Further down the road, the devastation continued with the forestry company’s logs and timber floating in neighbouring paddocks and stuck on fences.

Locals from the area said 300m away, timber and logs had been littered across the road and people had been driving along Whirinaki Beach and passing the beachfront houses to avoid the carnage. Now all the logs and timber packs have been moved to the side of the road so vehicles can get through safely.

On Thursday last week, Pan Pac took to its official Facebook page to say its Whirinaki site remained inaccessible and that it would “take weeks before we are operational again. We implore staff and the public to avoid the site until further notice. It is unsafe to enter.”

Pan Pac ended the post by saying: “We appreciate our business as a significant employer, with over 400 staff and 400 contractors. We will do everything we can to get our business back up and running, as safely as possible.

“Kia Kaha”

Photo: Stuff

Source: NZ Herald

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SnapSTAT - Value of NZ Log Exports

Year ended June 2004–2021, 2022–2026 forecast, NZD millions


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Tasmanian Premier visits Timberlink’s Bell Bay facility

Timberlink was pleased to welcome the Premier of Tasmania, Jeremy Rockliff MP, to Timberlink’s Bell Bay manufacturing facility on Friday 17th February 2023.

An AU$63 million upgrade is in the final stages of planning and will be underway and expected to be commissioned at the Bell Bay facility by the end of 2026. This will result in an increase of more than fifty percent in on-island sovereign timber manufactured from sustainably managed pine plantations.

The Premier inspected a number of developments at the Timberlink facility including construction of Australia’s only finger-jointed and primed outdoor timber products line, which has been partially supported by an AU$1,063,304 grant from the Tasmanian Government’s Department of State Growth On-Island Processing Program. The finger-jointing line is expected to be completed in late 2023.

Timberlink’s EGM Sales Marketing & Corporate Affairs, David Oliver, said “This new finger-jointed and primed outdoor timber products line will be the only one of its kind in Australia, and Timberlink is excited to be able to offer a locally produced product for the Australian market and reduce the need for imported timber.”

The Premier’s visit also included a tour of Timberlink’s wood-plastic composites plant, which is expected to be in full production in late 2023. This plant will produce wood-plastic composites products that will upcycle plastic waste and plantation timber mill residues, producing decking and screening for commercial and residential applications.

“This project significantly enhances Australia’s Sovereign capability to manufacture decking and screening products from upcycled materials,” said David Oliver. The wood-plastic composites plant will create new jobs and flow-on benefits for the economy. The energy to power the plant will be sourced from Tasmanian hydro power and a solar farm located on the roof of the new facility. Rainwater tanks will be installed to harvest rainwater which will be used for cooling in the manufacturing process.

Photo: Left to right: David Oliver, Premier Jeremy Rockliff MP, Nick Duigan MP, Scott Freeman

Source: Timberlink

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US$80m grant to make jet fuel from wood chips

A Georgia plant turning wood residue into jet fuel is receiving a big chunk of new federal funding to boost production, in the hopes that its products can eventually lower the climate change impact of the airline industry and other sectors.

The Department of Energy announced that it is awarding a US$80 million grant to AVAPCO LLC, a biofuel, biochemical and biomaterials company that currently operates a refinery in Thomaston, about 60 miles west of Macon. The agency released US$118 million to fund 17 projects around the country on Thursday, with AVAPCO’s grant by far the largest.

All of the projects receiving funding are working to advance U.S.-based production of biofuels — liquid fuels that can be made from plants, animal waste, used cooking oil and more. In a news release announcing the grants, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm cited the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from a host of industries and build domestic energy independence in the process.

AVAPCO, in business since 2009, is now a subsidiary of GranBio, a Brazilian biotechnology firm. In 2016, the company received a US$4.7 million DOE grant for a phase 1 pilot demonstrating its method for converting woody residue from sawmills, paper and pulp plants into sustainable aviation fuel. The company’s process also produces nanocellulose, a fibrous material that can be used by rubber manufacturers to strengthen tires and other products.

Phase 1 of the company’s project was successful, the DOE said. Now, the new federal money will be used to fund construction of a larger plant capable of producing 1.2 million gallons of jet fuel annually, plus sustainable material for the rubber industry. The new plant, likely to be located in Thomaston, is expected to be operational by 2026, said AVAPCO’s chief technology officer Kim Nelson.

More >>

Source: AJC

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Eucalypt durable post study backed

New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is backing a new Marlborough-based study to evaluate how hardwood forests could boost sustainability and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the region’s wine industry. MPI’s Director of Investment Programmes Steve Penno says hardwood eucalypt forests could provide an important alternative land-use in the region, and natural carbon storage options.

“The study, led by NZ Dryland Forests Initiative (NZDFI) and based at the Marlborough Research Centre (MRC), will evaluate the potential for new eucalypt forests to sustainably supply naturally durable posts, timber and biomass for bioenergy for Marlborough’s wine industry and other local industries,” says Mr Penno.

Project manager Paul Millen notes that certain eucalypt species are fast growing, drought tolerant, and produce strong, dense and naturally durable hardwood, which can be used outdoors without chemical treatment. “Untreated eucalypt timber posts in vineyards can last more than 20 years in the ground without contaminating the soil.

NZDFI will receive NZ$262,300 towards the research through the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change fund. Marlborough Research Centre Trust will contribute NZ$10,000 and the University of Canterbury’s School of Forestry and four local landowners will provide NZ$115,500 in-kind.

The project will develop models to show biomass accumulation and carbon storage for two key eucalypt species. It will assess these trees, including using innovative Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) drone technology to measure their biomass and carbon storage capabilities. It will also develop a business case to demonstrate how a 5,000-hectare durable eucalypt forest resource in Marlborough could offset emissions.

“Marlborough vineyards alone span more than 30,000 hectares, containing more than 18 million posts predominately made from treated radiata pine,” says Mr Millen. “Planting eucalypts could boost sequestration, and provide a sustainable regional supply of naturally durable posts and other timber, as well as biomass to supply solid biofuel to the wine sector.

Mr Penno says NZDFI has identified several regions where eucalypt forests could also be grown successfully. “The model developed by this new study has the potential to apply to other regions, mostly in the North Island.

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Genomic selection successfully applied operationally

Future-proofing New Zealand’s radiata pine plantations against climate challenges and a rapidly changing economic environment has become a whole lot easier with a world-leading application of Genomic Selection (GS), a tool to accelerate conventional tree breeding.

A partnership between the Radiata Pine Breeding Company (RPBC), New Zealand's specialist radiata pine breeding company, and Scion, a Crown Research Institute formerly known as the Forest Research Institute, has seen GS successfully applied operationally at large scale in radiata pine breeding.

The successful use of Genomic Selection technology late last year for radiata pine seedlings was the result of years of research and development investment by RPBC’s shareholders and an MBIE-funded scientific collaboration with Scion which began in 2014.

“Our challenge as an industry is to select the best trees with improved traits for growth rate, wood quality, and enhanced disease resistant qualities – all of which are vitally important contributors to the progress of radiata forestry,” Darrell O’Brien, RPBC ’s General Manager says. The work RPBC undertakes is strategically positioned to contribute to the delivery of the government’s strategy of creating a high value and resilient forestry and wood processing sector.

The first step in implementing GS for radiata breeding was the development of the world’s first radiata pine SNP chip – a tool which allows fast and efficient identification of specific genes – to significantly reduce the cost of genotyping, essentially making it financially viable. “We are beginning work this year to genotype 10,000 radiata pine needle samples per annum,” Darrell says. “This means our strategy of reducing the RPBC radiata pine tree breeding cycle from 18+ years to 9 years is becoming reality.”

The result will be that RPBC shareholders and the wider radiata pine forestry sector benefit in both the short and long terms from faster creation of improved germplasm and deployment of better-quality seed stock. From a low emissions future perspective, faster deployment of improved trees to the production forest can translate to a larger percent of logs at harvesting achieving higher grades.

Higher-grade logs can be used in areas such as construction and furniture which locks up more carbon for longer periods. Scion geneticists have conservatively estimated that the genetic gain in radiata pine by way of tree breeding has added NZ$8.5 Billion in income to the New Zealand national forest estate.

Source: RPBC

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New program to monitor NSW State forests wildlife

Forestry Corporation of NSW has launched a program across eastern NSW to monitor native plants and animals in State forests, finding a strong recovery in spring after previous droughts, fires and floods. North Coast Senior Field Ecologist, Mark Drury reports this cutting-edge program is rolling out across the coastal state forests throughout NSW.

Early observations are showing a strong recovery after the extended period of severe weather conditions — last spring was a boom time for our flora and fauna,” Mr Drury said. “We have already detected a number of koalas, yellow-bellied gliders, parma wallabies and quolls, which are all threatened species.This is really encouraging to see, as it shows that the forests are recovering well after the fires in 2019 and 2020."

The new program rolled out across 300 sites in State forests along the east coast, from the Queensland border to Victoria. These sites will be measured in spring and autumn each year using sound recorders, ultrasonic sound recorders and cameras to give valuable information on species’ occupancy and spread in NSW State forests.

It’s an exciting time in forestry ecology and the start of a new era in wildlife monitoring, Mr Drury said. “The monitoring program will allow us to understand the dynamics of animal populations that live in our forests,” he said. “This will ensure that the species that live in our forests can continue to co-exist with sustainable timber production.

“Our ecology teams use cameras, sound recorders and ultrasonic sound recorders for echo locating bats to remotely monitor wildlife activity over a two-week period.” The program will see this technology deployed at 600 recording plots monitored over five years across the forest, which will provide a huge amount of data for Forestry Corporation ecologists to help understand biodiversity in our forests.

This new program will compliment a range of existing monitoring programs for threatened species throughout the state. Forestry Corporation also runs long-term monitoring projects covering species such as the southern brown bandicoot, yellow-bellied glider, koalas, southern brown bandicoots and giant burrowing frogs at various sites throughout NSW. This work will continue.

The new program will provide a baseline understanding for even more species. Critically this will allow forest ecologists to track the trends for species in relation to climate change, bushfires and floods, as well as timber harvesting. Forestry Corporation is working closely with the NSW Department of Primary Industries and the Natural Resources Commission on the program, who were instrumental in establishing the program’s methodology and have oversight of its implementation.

Source: Forestry Corporation of NSW

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A question of terminology

Opinion Piece: Friday Offcuts recently noted that a new photography exhibition is taking visitors to Te Whare Nui o Tuteata on a trip down memory lane of 75 years of research and innovation at Scion, Rotorua.

That fired up a few in situ memory cells.

Scion, a Crown Research Institute, is a government-owned company that carries out scientific research for the NZ forestry sector. It was established in 1992 on sturdy foundations laid in 1947 by the NZ Forest Research Institute. There is a Queensland connection.

The operational move from Slash pine (Pinus elliottii) to Caribbean pine (Pinus caribaea var hondurensis) as the principal plantation species for Queensland Forestry in the 1970s was predicated on raising conditioned open root planting stock that could survive transplanting shock. The mechanised nursery techniques utilised were first established at NZ FRI Rotorua by Dr David Rook, plant physiologist, and head nursery manager, Jaap Van Dorssea.

However, the maori terms now used at Scion needed further investigation.

Scion's striking new three storey building (image below) is named “Te Whare Nui o Tuteata” which means the great house of Tuteata. Tuteata is the ancestor of the three hapū who are the tangata whenua here: Ngāti Hurungaterangi, Ngāti Taeotu and Ngāti Te Kahu. The name was gifted to Scion to acknowledge Tuteata and the connection to the land, Te Mingi. Ngāti Whakaue is the local iwi (tribe) on which Scion’s Rotorua campus and Te Papa Tipu Innovation Park is set against the magnificent backdrop of Whakarewarewa Forest (once known as The Redwoods).


There’s more.

New Zealand’s national science challenges include:

Science for technological innovation. Kia kotahi mai – te ao pūtaiao me te ao hangarau .

Building better homes, towns and cities. Ko ngā wā kāinga hei whakamāhorahora.

New Zealand’s biological heritage. Ngā koiora tuku iho.

Our land and water. Toitū te whenua, toi ora te wai.

Resilience to nature's challenges. Kia manawaroa – ngā ākina o te ao tūroa.

The deep south. Te kōmata o te tonga.

Here in Australia the current major political polemic is the upcoming referendum, the first since 1999, for a change in the Constitution to include an advisory group named the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. Referred to as ‘The Voice’ it would "have a responsibility and right to advise the Australian Parliament and Government on national matters of significance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples".

If The Voice gets up perhaps extensive renaming akin to NZ practice will eventuate. Most old growth foresters I know would be hard pressed to meet an exit challenge to learn new terminology for communication in the art and science of our profession.

Dr Gary Bacon AM, Retired Queensland forester
Retired Queensland Forester

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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... preaching to a bear

A Catholic Priest, a Baptist Preacher and a Rabbi all served as Chaplains to the students of Northern Michigan University at Marquette in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. They would get together two or three times a week for coffee and to talk shop.

One day, someone made the comment that preaching to people isn't really all that hard, a real challenge would be to preach to a bear. One thing led to another, and they decided to do an experiment. They would all go out into the woods, find a bear, preach to it, and attempt to convert it to their religion.

Seven days later, they all came together to discuss their experiences.

Father Flannery, who had his arm in a sling, was on crutches, and had various bandages on his body and limbs, went first. 'Well,' he said, 'I went into the woods to find me a bear. And when I found him, I began to read to him from the Catechism. Well, that bear wanted nothing to do with me and began to slap me around. So, I quickly grabbed my holy water, sprinkled him and, Holy Mary Mother of God, he became as gentle as a lamb. The Bishop is coming out next week to give him first communion and confirmation.'

Reverend Billy Bob the Baptist spoke next. He was in a wheelchair, had one arm and both legs in casts, and had an IV drip. In his best fire-and-brimstone oratory, he exclaimed, 'WELL, brothers, you KNOW that we Baptists don't sprinkle! I went out and I FOUND me a bear. And then I began to read to my bear from God's HOLY WORD! But that bear wanted nothing to do with me. So, I took HOLD of him and we began to wrestle. We wrestled down one hill, UP another and DOWN another until we came to a creek. So, I quickly DUNKED him and BAPTIZED his hairy soul. And just like you said, he became as gentle as a lamb. We spent the rest of the day praising Jesus. Hallelujah!

The Priest and the Reverend both looked down at the Rabbi, who was lying in a hospital bed. He was in a body cast and traction with IVs and monitors running in and out of him. He was in really bad shape.

The Rabbi looked up and said: "Looking back on it, circumcision may not have been the best way to start."

On that note, enjoy your weekend. And for those working and recovering from the recent cyclone, our thoughts are with you. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
PO Box 904, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Tel: +64 3 470 1902
Mob: +64 21 227 5177


John Stulen
PO Box 1230, Rotorua, 3040
Tel: +64 7 921 1381
Mob: +64 27 275 8011

This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at

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