Forestry memories about to be spilled
What happened in the bush will no longer stay there as forestry workers are being called for a reunion.
Three old friends decided it was time to bring out the black and white photos and delve into the stories.
Tokoroa’s Gerry Portegys worked for NZ Forest Products for almost 50 years and is helping to organise the three-day event.
Almost 150 have registered, but Portegys hopes more workers of NZ forestry companies will come forward.
‘‘It’s to give people a chance to talk . . . a lot of them are still living in Tokoroa,’’ he said.
Portegys said some were even coming from as far as Australia, Canada and Switzerland for the ‘‘nostalgia’’.
His career in the industry started when he refused to stay on the family farm and milk cows.
It was that or a job at Kinleith, an easy decision, according to Portegys.
Though he had his eyes set on a role at the Tokoroa pulp and paper mill, he managed to score a job as a labourer instead.
‘‘I loved it . . . it was out in the open, the money was good,’’ he said.
There will be no awkward silences at the event as Portegys alone can drum up almost half a century of memories.
Though there have been plenty of good times, they can never override the time he broke his back and spent seven weeks stuck in hospital.
Co-reunion planner and ex-NZ forest products employee Graeme Hall was also keen to get stuck in.
A few memories revealed the mischievous character he was.
‘‘ Us young devils played a rather mean trick on poor old Arthur Way, the Rahui lookout man,’’ he said.
The stunt made the lookout man believe the tree he cut down was registered.
Hall said they later sent a letter to him addressed from the ‘‘Tree Registration Officer’’.
Plenty more is left to be shared and Hall looks forward to the reunion, where other stories will be revealed.
To be eligible you have to have been or still be an employee of New Zealand forestry successors.
Picturing memories: Graeme Hall and Gerry Portegys hope to see many memories flood through at the reunion this October