Porirua de­signer pick of the crop

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS -

A tree-har­vest­ing de­vice de­vised by Porirua man Nick Ross has won a na­tional James Dyson Award, which recog­nises in­no­va­tive feats in de­sign.

The 25-year-old Massey Univer­sity in­dus­trial de­sign grad­u­ate wowed judges with the Ax­olotyl, a tree-cut­ting ve­hi­cle with the po­ten­tial to rev­o­lu­tionise the forestry sec­tor.

Mr Ross, now based in Swe­den, did not re­turn home for the award cer­e­mony in Auck­land last Thurs­day. He has been busy pre­sent­ing his in­ven­tion to forestry man­u­fac­tur­ers.

The Ax­olotyl, named af­ter the en­dan­gered Mex­i­can walk­ing fish, is de­signed to cut and sep­a­rate tree trunks, branches and nee­dles on site, and re­turn its nu­tri­ents to the ground for nat­u­ral re­gen­er­a­tion. In do­ing so it by­passes cur­rent tree har­vest­ing meth­ods that re­quire re­turn vis­its to the for­est by heavy trucks caus­ing soil com­paction and dam­age to sur­round­ing trees.

“Over the past years I have no­ticed the forests de­creas­ing and I started my project ques­tion­ing why this was hap­pen­ing,” Mr Ross said.

“I ab­sorbed my­self with forestry spe­cial­ists and Scan­di­na­vian forestry equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers and their users to un­cover their ex­per­tise.”

At present Mr Ross has a pro­to­type of his de­sign and is in dis­cus­sions with the Scan­di­na­vian forestry in­dus­try to com­mer­cialise it.

Awards head judge David Love­grove, from the De­sign­ers’ In­sti­tute of New Zealand, praised the re­search that went into the de­sign, which he called “the best re­search project we’ve seen from New Zealand en­tries’’.

“He didn’t set out to de­sign a tree har­vester. He ap­proached the de­sign with the sim­ple ques­tion, how do you grow trees bet­ter? So we were en­cour­aged to see sus­tain­abil­ity was a core mo­ti­va­tion in the prod­uct’s de­vel­op­ment, and dur­ing the de­sign process.”

The Ax­olotyl will com­pete

Porirua in­ven­tor Nick Ross with his award-win­ning, ecofriendly tree-cut­ting de­vice, the Ax­olotyl. against de­signs from 18 other par­tic­i­pat­ing coun­tries for the in­ter­na­tional James Dyson Award to be an­nounced in Novem­ber.

Mr Ross’


pack­age in­cludes a trip to Bri­tain cour­tesy of the British Coun­cil New Zealand, with $3000 trav­el­ling money. He will also meet key mem­bers of the British de­sign community.

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