Inaugural Top of the South Forestry Awards

27 June 2019

The inaugural Top of the South Forestry Awards marked the start of something quite special for an industry that is so key to the region and look set to become an annual fixture in years to come. It was a true celebration of forestry and all of those involved whether they be from Nelson or Marlborough and everywhere in between.

Industry heroes were awarded across 15 categories with the ultimate trophy going to Heather Arnold of Nelson Forests Limited who won the Skilled Forestry Professional of the Year for 2019. Arnold also took out the Woman in Forestry Excellence category. The category attracted a high standard of entries coming from abroad sweep of the industry including environmental, accountancy, truck driving, and even those who are responsible for calculating the carbon footprint of the industry.

However, Arnold was a standout through her very high standard of work, how she engages with staff and contractors, and provides leadership within the industry – all of which was reiterated by her manager Andrew Karaulus from Nelson Management Limited.

Arnold’s strong passion for environmental management systems has seen her influence the National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry (NES-PF). She continues to have sway across a wide spectrum in the industry – from frontline workers through to government politicians. Arnold continues to strengthen her role by seeking out opportunities for training through public speaking, the facilitation of workshops and being part of working groups with a key eye to identifying risks to the business.

Being awarded the 2019 Skilled Forestry Professional of the Year trophy acknowledged she had made a difference both regionally and nationally, through being involved in one of New Zealand’s greatest assets – the environment. Without question judges felt Arnold is an expert in her field, and one who has an enormous understanding of what’s involved in forestry.

Other key companies in the winning line-up included Reed Contracting, Taylors Contracting Company and Moutere Logging.

Also recognised by the judges with a special award was Les Bak, from Nelson Forest Ltd for the significant role the company plays in health and safety which has led to good outcomes for people’s own development alongside improved overall productivity for the business.

Fronting the show was master of ceremonies Paul Ego, TV celebrity and comedian with more than 540 people attending, including VIPs, mayors and politicians from across the region who left a very enjoyable evening with plenty of willingness to make the awards an annual event. The awards emulate a series of forestry awards run around the country and provide a platform to shine a positive light on the many people who work in the industry, including sponsors and forest entities.


Skilled Forestry Professional of the Year 2019 : Heather Arnold, Nelson Forests Ltd

Training Excellence
Taylors Contracting NZ Apprentice of the Year : Rob Mesman, Bryant Logging
Competenz Trainee of the Year: Luke Harris, Moutere Logging
Waratah Training Company of the Year : Wood Contracting Nelson

Skilled Professionals
Tasman Pine Forests Forestry Excellence : Tony Dell, Action Forest Management
Nelson Forests Ltd Roading Excellence : Pete Ross, Taylors Contracting Company
Stuart Drummond Transport Harvesting Excellence : Kim Carter, Kelly Logging
Nelson Forests Ltd Distribution Excellence : Murray Newport, Borlase Transport
Crediflex Wood Processing Excellence : Daniel Rowe, SouthPine Nelson
EMS Tree Faller Excellence (Mechanised) : Ryan Fisher, Reed Contracting
Brent Searle Tree Faller Excellence (Manual) : Mark Brown, Marlborough Harvesting Ltd
Oil Intel Woman in Forestry Excellence : Heather Arnold, Nelson Forests Ltd
Industry Development
FICA Crew of the Year : Reed Contracting
DC Equipment Outstanding Health & Safety Management : Moutere Logging
Tasman District Council Outstanding Environmental Management : Taylors Contracting Company
Waimea Contract Carriers Outstanding Regional Service Performance : Brady Clements, Forest Safety Management
Special Award
Borlase Transport Outstanding Contribution to the Industry : Les Bak, Nelson Forests Ltd

This article originally appeared on the Top of the South Forestry Awards website.