Nga Whenua Rahui
Well, not quite around the world. In fact not even half. But yes, we spent some time in the wilderness here in NZ – i.e. a communications wilderness otherwise known as Te Kaha on the East Cape. Te Kaha is a beautiful spot and while being incommunicado had its challenges, we enjoyed our time there working with Nga Whenua Rahui (NWR).
NWR are doing some very interesting work around conservation of privately owned Maori Land and we are privileged to be working with this great bunch of people. Lot’s more to do yet and we are trying to keep it nice and simple. However, NWR really do know their business and have a lot of energy and drive to get things right to suit their business. But we’ll get there in the end.
Dovetailing straight after our adventures to the Cape (and beyond), we travelled to Singapore for the Esri’s Asia Pacific User Conference. It’s been a while since either Harley or Tony have travelled to this part of the world and it was good to be back. We made some new contacts here and we hope to extend our relationships into this region further as time goes on.
The APUC event was very good and we not only met new people, but we caught up with some people we hadn’t seen in years. It was no surprise however to know that the suppliers and clients have exactly the same issues as we do here in NZ.
Aside from APUC, the food was great but we did get a bit of a surprise by the price of drinks at Raffles!! Tony then marched on to Hong Kong to further extend our communications into the Asia Pacific region. Needless to say, he had fun there.
Returning to NZ, Harley, accompanied by one of our developers (Chris), then attended the ForestTech 2013 – Steep Slope Wood Harvesting Conference in Rotorua. This was the perfect event for show casing CHPS – our Cable Harvest Planning software that is integrated into ArcGIS for Desktop.
This event was combined with the Forest Industry Safety Summit and was attended by over 400 industry representatives. With steep hill harvesting projected to be over 60% of NZ’s timber harvest in the coming years, there is a real shortage of equipment and skills in NZ. NZ needs to add a new cable harvesting crew every 4 weeks for the next 12 years to keep up with projected demand!
Forest safety is also a huge issue within the industry at present. Wiremu Edmonds of Rotorua gave a very powerful and emotional presentation about forest safety urging those in the industry to “stand in the gap” – to do the right thing with respect to forest safety at all levels. Wiremu’s son was killed in a forestry accident 8 months ago. In addition, within hours of Wiremu’s talk, another forestry worker was killed in a logging accident. The impact of Wiremu’s presentation on the 400+ attendees was immense (some very tough blokes got very emotional) and may have been a significant moment for the industry.