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NZ’s largest logging industry event planned for June


26 April 2017

NZ’s largest logging industry event planned for June

The New Zealand forestry industry set a new record last year for the annual forest harvest. There is no denying the fact that the sector is on a high right now. On the back of booming log exports to China, low shipping rates and strong domestic demand, wood harvesting has reached record levels.

This year forestry export revenues are forecast to rise even further. For the year ending June of this year, they’re forecast to increase by 5.8% to NZ$5.4 billion, and climb a further 8.8% to NZ$5.9 billion in the year to June 2018. With the supply of harvestable wood also forecast to rise even higher over the next five years, logging contractors and transport operators from around the country will continue to be extremely busy.

Local contractors, individually and collectively, are currently working hard on improving their safety, productivity and on-site efficiencies to meet this demand.

As part of that drive, the Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) is running the second two-yearly technology event, HarvestTECH 2017, in Rotorua on 20-21 June 2017.

The inaugural HarvestTECH event ran two years ago with close to 450 meeting in Rotorua. The event SOLD OUT! It was the largest gathering of logging contractors, forestry managers, forest owners, harvest planners and equipment suppliers to the industry seen in New Zealand. Equipment suppliers, researchers, forestry companies and international contractors from throughout Australia, Canada, the US, Finland, Austria, Germany, Indonesia, and South Africa also flew into Rotorua to attend the event.

The focus in 2015 was on steep slope logging. The number of logging crews working on steeper terrain in the country had seen exponential growth. Of course, with growth came innovation. New mechanisation developments and the desire to increase productivity had led to significant advances in harvesting practices and the equipment being used on this steeper country.

As well as significant investment from key suppliers, significant innovation had also come through contractors working directly with local engineering companies. The 2015 event was able to showcase new kiwi ingenuity to the rest of the world.

Two years on, logging steeper terrain is again being covered in Rotorua this year. Developments by local engineers, manufacturers and contractors continues to raise the bar. Several kiwi companies have successfully exported their equipment and expertise into the US, Canada and South American markets.

“Steep slope logging though isn’t the only focus for the 2017 programme,” says FIEA Director, Brent Apthorp. “HarvestTECH will also cover new technologies and operating practices in small woodlot harvesting, harvest planning, mechanisation and automation.”

Those attending will also get an insight into some truly innovative harvesting operations. From Tasmania, delegates will hear about an Australian company that’s strapped a harvesting head onto an excavator and is working from a moored barge. They’re currently harvesting up to 26 metres under water and extracting high value specialty hardwood timbers from Tasmania’s waterways.

From New Zealand’s West Coast, a company involved in large scale helicopter extraction of storm damaged timber since April 2014 will be outlining some of the issues around felling, extraction, logistics and safety with heli-lifting operations.

“The practical use of collected harvesting data, improving data exchange and communications in more remote locations will be a common theme throughout the June technology event”, says Mr Apthorp.

In addition to two days of tech updates, two field tours will also be showcasing new innovative technology and logging practices in local forests.

This is the largest tech update for logging operations in New Zealand since 2015. Details can be found on the event website,



The Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) has, for the last 20 years, been running an extensive series of technology programmes for forestry and wood products companies. Over 500 programmes have been run throughout New Zealand, Australia and North America.

FIEA provides an independent forum for local companies to evaluate new technologies, discuss the developments with local and international experts and network with industry peers. For more information visit

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