Forest Enterprises’ new Gisborne-based regional manager, Dan Fraser. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

JAKE BELESKI

jake.beleski@age.co.nz

Forest Enterprises has appointed its first member of staff from outside Masterton since the business opened 45 years ago.

The Masterton-based forest investment and management company has appointed a Gisborne-based regional manager to boost the management of its 10,000-plus hectare forest estate in the Gisborne region.

Dan Fraser, of Gisborne, took up the new role last month, and he has experience in extensive green fields harvest planning, road construction projects, strategic planning and contract management.

Mr Fraser said his priority was to ensure maximum profitability for investors from the harvest of their Gisborne forests.

“I will be particularly focussed on attracting and retaining top performing contractors, ensuring they have a robust, sustainable support network around them so they can consistently meet our high environmental and safety goals.

“I’m looking forward to working with our contractors, and I’m passionate about building highly successful teams and one of the most rewarding things for me over the years has been helping young keen operators grow into highly successful companies.”

Forest Enterprises managing director, Steve Wilton, said Mr Fraser’s professional forestry expertise supported the company’s focus on harvesting in Gisborne.

“Our forests in the Gisborne region make up half of the total forest estate we manage, so the increased and ongoing harvest up there will be significant for us.

“We’re experiencing this growth in the Wairarapa too, and we know from experience that having a senior manager on-site provides all-important continuous local expertise as well as relationship management.”

Until now, that expertise had been provided by Masterton-based senior executives travelling regularly.

The appointment brings staff numbers to 17, Mr Wilton said.

Forest Enterprises expects to double its 2016 harvest volume from its forests in Gisborne this year.

The company began the major programme of harvesting Gisborne forests in February last year with one logging crew, and now has a third crew about to start.

Volume from Forest Enterprises’ Wairarapa harvest operations continues to increase year- on- year since it started logging in earnest in 2010 — it reached 330,000 tonnes last year.

“We replanted more than 490 hectares of harvested area in the Wairarapa this winter,” Mr Wilton said.

“That’s about half a million radiata seedlings, which is one of the biggest replant programmes in the Wairarapa this season.”

Forest Enterprises manages 59 forests on behalf of its investors and nine for private forest owners.

The company’s Wairarapa forests make up 45 per cent of the company’s total estate under management, with five per cent in Hawke’s Bay.