Kuru crowned king at East­land awards

New Zealand Logger - - Forest Talk -

THE 2018 EAST­LAND WOOD COUN­CIL Forestry Awards were a record-breaker across the board and fit­tingly, pro­duced the first two-time supreme win­ner.

Ricky Kuru – from Kuru Con­tract­ing – was toasted by more than 500 guests at the awards din­ner as the East­land Wood Coun­cil Skilled Forestry Pro­fes­sional of the Year, in ad­di­tion to col­lect­ing the in­di­vid­ual Road­ing Ex­cel­lence Award. He was also win­ner of the top award in 2013.

For the past 16 years Mr Kuru’s com­pany has pro­vided road line har­vest­ing and road con­struc­tion ser­vices to Hiku­rangi For­est Farms, and many oth­ers prior to that. He is known for his ef­fi­ciency and high stan­dard of work on all sorts of ter­rain. He has a strong fo­cus on train­ing for him­self and his team – a trait he has car­ried since he first started in the forestry in­dus­try in 1992.

The multi-gen­er­a­tional Kuru Con­tract­ing be­gan as a fam­ily busi­ness, with Mr Kuru and his wife Leanne tak­ing over from his own par­ents.

Shel­don Drum­mond, who chaired the judg­ing panel, praised Mr Kuru and his crew, say­ing: “He has di­ver­si­fied over the years and con­tin­ued to develop ex­cel­lence while pro­vid­ing ex­cel­lent ser­vice to the com­pa­nies he works for.

“There were sev­eral oth­ers very close for that over­all award, but Ricky came through as a clear win­ner in the end.”

Now in its ninth year, the awards at­tracted the most en­tries ever in 2018, the high­est cal­i­bre of nom­i­na­tions, some of the clos­est com­pe­ti­tion in cat­e­gories and the big­gest cel­e­bra­tion din­ner.

Mr Drum­mond went on to say: “It is an in­dus­try which is grow­ing but we are also now into our third gen­er­a­tion of forestry peo­ple from within the re­gion.

“So it is an in­dus­try which is feed­ing on its own ex­per­tise and we are re­ally de­vel­op­ing ex­cel­lence as we go. En­tries are up about 25% on last year and just con­tinue to grow. We are just over the moon with the qual­ity of en­trants and where the in­dus­try has come from and gone to in the past 30-plus years. Forestry on the East Coast is no longer a fledg­ling in­dus­try – it is up and run­ning and grow­ing.”

When the first com­mer­cial log­ging in plan­ta­tion forestry be­gan in the re­gion back in 1985 in Patu­namu For­est, the log­gers came from Bay of Plenty.

“That has all changed now and it is awe­some to see lead­ing ex­per­tise emerg­ing from within Tairawhiti,” says Mr Drum­mond.

“Nine years ago, the East­land Wood Coun­cil de­cided to start an award sys­tem that would mimic what the Golden Shears and Young Farmer of the Year had done, pro­fes­sion­al­is­ing the in­dus­try and its peo­ple, and now East Coast is lead­ing the way. We were the first ones to do this and now other re­gions through­out the coun­try are fol­low­ing suit.”

Plans are al­ready well un­der­way for an ex­tra spe­cial cel­e­bra­tion for next year’s 10-year an­niver­sary.

NZL

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1: Maa Parata, Op­er­a­tions Man­ager Kuru Con­tract­ing ac­cepted the Skilled Forestry Pro­fes­sional of the Year award from Anne Tol­ley MP on be­half of Ricky Kuru, who wasn’t able to at­tend.

2: Ricky Kuru, voted Skilled Forestry Pro­fes­sional of the Year.

3: Out­stand­ing H & S Man­age­ment award win­ner, Robert Stubbs (left) and Ju­dith, his H&S Man­ager. Ac­cept­ing the award from Dave Par­doe from Williams & Wil­shier.

4: NZ Ap­pren­tice of the Year, Ge­or­gia Paul­son (left), of Black­s­tump Log­ging, is pre­sented with her award by Yvonne Lim, Gen­eral Man­ager, Stake­holder En­gage­ment, Com­pe­tenz.

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