The men and women who contribute so much to the Top of the South forestry industry were toasted before a sell-out 560-strong crowd at the second annual awards last night.
Triumphing as the Skilled Professional of the Year was Glen Holmwood, who also won the Harvesting Excellence Award earlier in the night.
The MJ Fraser Logging crew manager for nigh on 20 years is recognised for the mana he holds both with those he works with and the wider industry. He is celebrated as someone who has made a real difference to forestry, always been supportive of other crews and with an outstanding work ethic. His planning and holistic lens over everything means people, plant and the environment are all carefully considered. Glen has continued to develop relationships with forest owners and fellow workers leaving no question as to his integrity and strength. Those who have worked with him say he is never shy in challenging the status quo to improve both themselves and those around him.
MJ Fraser Logging was a big winner on the night, also winning the NZ Apprentice of the Year award with Connor Berkett, and their crew runner-up in the hotly contested Crew of the Year category.
KD Harvesting was also well represented in the awards, winning the Crew of the Year trophy and finishing runner-up in both the Trainee of the Year with Tuwhare Pui, and Harvesting Excellence Award with John Jamieson.
“There were so many very deserving winners at the awards,” said event organiser Prue Younger. “This is a real celebration of all that is good about our industry and particularly in such challenging and unknown times.”
Judges were most impressed with the calibre of nominees and sometimes struggled to find clear winners, with the Forestry Excellence Award having Mark Bryant (OneFortyOne) and Honza (Jan) Melecky (Rai Silviculture Ltd) first equal.
Unsurprisingly, given the direction of harvesting, the mechanised falling section was the strongest category with several talented and skilled operators.
Also shining were those in the log processor category where all had significant skills and challenged the judges as they narrowed nominations down to their final selections.
Pio Terei kept the diners entertained during the awards, which were held at the Trafalgar Centre in Nelson. The awards, which cover the Marlborough and Tasman areas, were established in 2019 to celebrate the full supply chain of the forestry industry. New this year were the log truck driver and log processor categories, both of which were well supported.