May 30, 2019

2019 EWC scholarship recipients

Helping East Coast Forestry Excel

Wade Brunt and Reihana Fisher are the 2019 recipients of the $1500 Eastland Wood Council Scholarships.

The two come from different sides of the industry – one who is completing his Bachelor of Forest Science and the other well entrenched in forestry with a focus on the wider wellbeing and fitness of workers.

Wade (Ngati Kahungunu) works for McIndoe Logging as a loader operator but is studying a New Zealand level 4 certificate in exercise through the New Zealand Exercise Academy. His story is inspirational and he now wants to continue to help others in the industry. He already helps many with their fitness training but says he has his sights set on the next level. “My vision is to have a health hub for all forestry workers to have access to things like a gym, trainer, health nurse or doctor, a safe space and be able to collect information on a range of topics from nutritious low-cost recipes to how to form healthy life habits,” says Wade.

He turned his own life around just two years ago, losing over 35kg. “I then wanted to transfer my knowledge to others in the industry so I founded the forestry Health Camp – an eight-week fitness and health challenge open to anyone in the industry who wanted to improve their health. It proved a big hit and he would often have up to 30 people turning up for the camp. To celebrate the end of the challenge he ran the Jogging for Logging run from Eastland Port to Tolaga Bay Wharf.

“I firmly believe a happy and healthy mind, body and soul go into the workspace and is a productive and safe worker,” he says. He plans to help turn the unhealthy to healthy – one person at a time.

Reihana (Ngati Porou – Te Whanau a Hinerupe), who grew up in Te Araroa, is in his fourth and final year at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch where he is studying towards a Bachelor of Forest Science. He’s still deciding on what his focus will be within the forestry industry in the future but as part of working towards that, he has been busy investigating many areas.

“As a graduate forester I expect I will be exposed to a range of opportunities within the industry,” he says. “Building on that I will then be able to identify an area of interest in which to further my career, be that harvesting or silviculture, or something else.”

During his university breaks, he has worked as an intern with New Zealand Forest Managers (NZFM) in Turangi where he has been exposed to a range of forest operations including pruning, inventory, harvesting and forest mapping. He has also helped university lecturers in their research by collecting inventory data. During the summer of 2018-2019, he was heavily involved in the planning and operational side of a volume and taper study for NZFM. “This experience has given me a good insight into research preparation and has broadened my understanding of field inventory.” The data from the study is being used to complete his dissertation project.

Reihana is confident his skills will be put to good use within the East Coast region in the future.

The two Eastland Wood Council Scholarships are worth $1500 and are available for either a student enrolled in full-time relevant industry tertiary study or an employee within the industry keen to upskill.