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Stanley: NZ Wood Resene Timber Design Awards 2014

NZ Wood Resene Timber Design Awards 2014

Welcome Speech – Brian Stanley – 18 March at 6.30 pm


Brian Stanley, Director, NZ Wood

[NZ Wood is the promotional arm of the Wood Council of NZ]


Ladies and gentlemen, good evening. I’d like to welcome you all to the NZWood Resene Timber Design Awards for 2014 – the annual awards ceremony celebrating the best structural innovations in wood in New Zealand. Let me start by acknowledging the Associate Minister for Primary Industries, the Honourable Jo Goodhew, whom I know as an ardent supporter of wood and as a person who understands the valuable contribution that the wood sector makes to the New Zealand economy and the environment. I would also like to acknowledge Hon Shane Jones, Labour Spokesperson for Forestry.

The Timber Design Awards have been in existence since 1975 and during this period of time, we have seen some amazing developments in timber-based construction. One recent trend has been to reach for the sky.

In London and Melbourne we have witnessed cross-laminated timber buildings reach 9 and 10 stories. Vancouver is considering a plan to go up to 30 stories whilst Stockholm is already streets ahead with a 34-story timber building already approved. Not to be outdone, the Americans are carrying out feasibility work on a 42-story tower.

Over these, near-40, years not only has imagination run wild with wood but architects and engineers have actually turned ideas into reality. This, I’m sure, we will see repeated tonight.

My name is Brian Stanley. I am a Director of NZWood, a Wood Councillor and Chair of the New Zealand Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association. Whilst not in the structural timber business I come from that part of the industry that turns wood into all kinds of weird, wonderful and highly useful products such as paper, packaging, biochemical, textiles and biofuel. Such is the incredible versatility of wood.

I have been asked to talk for 5 minutes this evening and I’d like to reflect, for a moment, on what will happen in those 5 minutes. ………..Without doing a great deal ourselves - but getting a huge boost from nature - our (almost) 2 million hectares of sustainable and certified forest estate will have grown enough timber to build 10 “NZS 3604” standard NZ homes. At the same time as doing this our forests will have sequestered carbon, prevented soil erosion, enhanced biodiversity, supplied renewable energy and provided jobs. How many New Zealand industries can make and really substantiate that claim?

In that same period of time the world’s population will have increased by further 350 people. For these 350 people the world’s forests will not only provide them with shelter but it will also go a long way to mitigating the impacts of climate change on them in the future. Not bad for 5 minutes work!

Before we reveal, tonight, your creativity in wood over the past year, I want to thank you all for exploring the limitless potential of this most modern construction material. We share an ambition with you - to see much more timber used in our buildings. This is one of the reasons why the Wood Council of New Zealand is asking the government to adopt a Wood First policy; an enlightened approach to encouraging wood use in public buildings already in place in countries as diverse as Japan, France and Canada.

To support new thinking in wood, the NZWood Timber Smart series has been touring the country over the last 12 months highlighting how wood meets and surpasses the construction challenges of the 21st Century.

I know that Professor Andy Buchanan of Canterbury University (acknowledge) also has a raft of wood-based solutions that can help the government solve housing affordability, accommodate a burgeoning urban population – safely - and address climate change simultaneously. Is the government listening to this great case for wood? We will find out tomorrow at the industry’s national conference – ForestWood 2014 at Te Papa.

Back to this evening and this is the point where I hand over to your MC for the evening, Nick Tansley and to our special guest speaker all the way from Tasmania, Robert Morris-Nunn. I know that you will enjoy this evening and that the work show-cased will inspire the next generation of architects and engineers who are in the room tonight – and that you will go on to push the use of wood to new heights.

Thank you.

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