July 18, 2016
A self-driven, go-to man has scooped the pool at the inaugural Northland Forestry Awards. Nigel Harrison walked off with the Northland Forestry Skilled Professional of the Year as well as the Harvesting Excellence Award at the awards ceremony on Friday night. The 39-year-old father-of-two from Wise on Wood was the toast of the sold-out formal dinner, which attracted 280 people to Toll Stadium where rugby legend Eric Rush was the MC.
The multi-skilled Mr Harrison was praised for being able to do any task in a ground-based logging crew – from faller to digger operator, loading, fleeting, shovelling, operating a harvester processor and falling, a skidder, bulldozer, forwarder and more.
He is the one who leads by example, who prides himself on making sure the forest owner gets all they can from their stand. He is considered the go-to man for many in the Northland industry, who call him for advice, to bounce ideas, or just ask his opinion…and he’s always happy to help.
In 2013 he became a Fitec (now Competenz) assessor, following a year later with contract training and assessing for NorthTec. He is known for his attention to health and safety and environmental unit standards believing they go hand in hand with the hands-on tasks. Mr Harrison said he was introduced to the world of wood when his family started logging exotic trees, and milling them to build houses. He gained a national certificate in carpentry and discovered what was to become a lifelong passion. He continued in the family business with his parents and older brother for more than 20 years. They created a very successful ground-based harvesting operation between them.
Tombleson Logging also did well on the night, with the family taking home the Forestry Family of the Year Trophy and employee Jeremy Gunner winning the Trainee of the Year certificate.
Hancock Forest Management northern area manager Andrew Widdowson, who is the spokesman for the Northland Forestry Health and Safety Group, the organisation behind the establishment of the Awards campaign, was delighted with the response to the inaugural awards.
“It is great to see many from the wider industry getting in behind the event,” said Mr Widdowson. Jacqui Apiata, ACC injury prevention and management consultant for the northern region, said she, with fellow judges Mike Goodison from WorkSafe NZ and Brett Jobe from Competenz, were most impressed with the calibre of entries.