August 8, 2023

CNIWC Awards 2023


Record nominations recognise forestry’s top talent

Good Deed Award recipient Gareth White (left).
Female in Forestry Award recipients Rachelle Dunn (left) and Rona Wheeldon (right).

Heralding the success of the inaugural awards last year, the Central North Island forestry industry stepped up to bring in a record number of nominations for the second year, with 77 contenders up to take the stage at the Energy Centre Rotorua last night.

Her Worship Mayor Tania Tapsell of Rotorua acknowledged that forestry was well known in the region and respected for the trade and skills it brought but as an industry, it was important to take time to reflect on this and celebrate the people that work so hard. Mayor Tapsell confirmed that Rotorua was the epicentre of forestry contributing $314.7 million in 2022 to the local GDP across forestry, logging and processing.

“Forestry is part of our DNA and we have an exciting future ahead of us despite the current challenges”, Tania resonated. “Our most important assets are our land and our people.”

Mayor Tapsell acclaimed Rotorua as the first city to adopt the wood-first policy, demonstrated in many new constructions around the region to showcase this commitment. Tourism is also utilising forestry with its drawcard of mountain biking which also contributes significantly each year to the GDP.

A new award was introduced this year, the Good Deed Award sponsored by Safetree the industry’s health and safety brand. It recognised a person within the forest industry for paying it forward, helping others or supporting a charity or initiative or action. The audience on the night chose their winner, votes counted, and Gareth White from G White Logging took out this award acknowledging the fantastic work he undertook during Cyclone Gabrielle, delivering goods and resources to Hakes Bay and Tairawhiti. Gareth also took out the Hero of the Year award while his company overall, G White Logging went on to take out a strong hold on the night of awards also taking home Female in Forestry, Harvesting Excellence, Log Processing and Trainee of the Year.

From a very strong nomination list of women, two winners were awarded as Female in Forestry, the first Rona Wheeldon from OFM with many years of experience in harvesting operations, and many find her insights are well thought out and reasonable and she continues to be a great advocate for our industry. The equal winner, Rachelle Dunn from G White Logging Ltd, was described as a vital cog in the machine, her unwavering dedication, and remarkable work ethic and affectionately known as “Aunty”.

The Generation Programme was also recognised again, after three years of managing this programme, Damita Mita, CEO of the Central North Island Wood Council and manager for the programme, said, “The Generation Programme remains strategically important to our industry regionally. To date, we have run 5 programmes with 38 successful graduates. Of those graduating students 39% moved into employment and 34% continued their studies. Whilst we know the programme has transformed the lives of many individuals who have completed the course, it also has a proven positive impact on whanau. It plays an important part in maintaining the community backing for the forestry industry – ‘our social licence’. With the changes signalled by Muka Tangata across forestry qualifications, we are also looking at how we can do better and how it can be supported on a long-term basis.”

David Dysart, Apple Tree Farms was awarded Best Farm Forester of the Year standing out as far-sighted and strategically astute in his land use planning. His current goal is to adapt to the environmental, economic, and political conditions that impact the farming business, with the hope of passing on healthy, aesthetically pleasing land to future generations.

Central North Island Wood Council presented a special accolade for National Forest Industry Collaboration Award this award for outstanding collaboration in promoting the forestry sector to the NZ public at the National Fieldays, 2023. This was an exemplar of working together for the greater good of our industry social licence. Thanks go to Te Uru Rakau, NZ Forest Growers Levy Trust, NZ Farm Forestry, Scion, and Red Stag and the Fieldays Forestry Hub Advisory Group

The audience of 500 also exceeded last year’s ticket sales and MC Pio Terei once again kept them entertained at the Energy Centre Rotorua formal dinner celebrating the heroes of the region.

The Central North Island Wood Council has proven itself to be a significant organisation continuing to advocate for the region, ensuring its members are supported and have a healthy strategic direction going forward while the industry as a whole is being challenged with market downturns and weather events.


GOLD: P F Olsen, Taumata Plantations Ltd, Tiaki Plantations Company, Toi Ohomai, Timberlands, First Security, The Wide Trust, Wildlands.

SILVER: SWIFT, SCION Research, Ontario Teachers Pensioner Plan, Manulife Investment Management, RFH, Oji Fibre Solutions, Patchell, Tigercat, Competenz: Te Pukenga, South Waikato District Council, Safetree, NZME, The WIDE Trust, Te Uru Rakau, NZ Safety Blackwood.

BRONZE: C3, EMS, Komatsu, Rotorua NZ, Green Transport, FICA, Finance NZ, Trimble, UDC, Deals on Wheels.



Silvicultural Excellence (sponsored South Waikato Investment Fund Trust): Dean Anderson (D Anderson Contractors Ltd)
Runners-up: Kyle Patterson (Ace of Spades Ltd); Mana Petero (PR Forestry Ltd)

Forest Protection and Services Excellence (sponsored by Scion): Steve Gatenby (Timberlands)

Harvesting Excellence (sponsored by Manulife Investment Management): Clint Maxwell (G White Logging Ltd)

Distribution Excellence (sponsored by RFH): Haeata te Whaiti (Trimble Forestry)

Log Processing Excellence (sponsored by Tigercat): Rob Davy (G White Logging Ltd)
Runner-up: Kelly Smith (FPNZ Ltd)

Log Truck Driver Excellence (sponsored by Patchell): Royce Te Huia (Chris Angus Transport CAT Ltd)

Forest Engineering Excellence (sponsored by Ontario Teachers/Manulife): JB (John Boy) Butler (Gaddum Construction Ltd)

Wood Processing Excellence (sponsored by Oji Paper Company): Kaylib Winiata (Donnelly Sawmillers)

Outstanding Environmental Management (sponsored by Tiaki Plantations Company/Manulife): Razorsharp Harvesting Ltd

Outstanding Health and Safety Management (sponsored by Taumata Plantations Ltd/Manulife): Crew 54 (Fast Harvesting Ltd)

Outstanding Regional Service Award (sponsored by PF Olsen): InSitu Heritage
Runner-up: Debbie Stewart and Team (Wingspan Birds of Prey Trust)

Female in Forestry Award (sponsored by Timberlands): Rona Wheeldon (OFM Ltd); Rachelle Dunn (G White Logging Ltd)

Best Farm Forester Award (sponsored by The Wide Trust): David Dysart (Apple Tree Farms)

Best Native Forest Enterprise Award (sponsored by Wildlands): Wiremu Ruru (Ruru SFL Ltd)


Generation Programme Graduate of the Year (sponsored by South Waikato District Council): Corban Coxon (Tombleson Logging)
Excellence Awards: Zshawnee Uatuku, Kadafi ToeToe

Trainee of the Year (sponsored by Competenz: Te Pukenga): Norton Craig (G White Logging Ltd)
Runner-up: Mana Petero (PR Forestry Ltd)


Hero of the Year Award (sponsored by First Security): Gareth White (G White Logging Ltd)

Good Deed Award (sponsored by Safetree): Gareth White (G White Logging)

National Forest Industry Collaboration Award (sponsored by the CNI Wood Council): Fieldays Forestry Hub Advisory Group