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Behind the Scenes of Women in Forestry


We’ve had some feedback from some of our followers that they would like to know more about the purpose of the Women in Forestry Network. So here we give an overview of how the group started, who we’re here to help and what we’re aiming to achieve.



Women in Forestry Meeting in Napier May 2018



How it all started


A few years back, Forestry Accountant Sonya Elmiger from Blackburne Group Chartered Accountants (Taupo) had the idea to connect women in the forestry industry through a newsletter. The newsletter grew in popularity, with more and more women in the industry coming forward and giving feedback that there was a need for this kind of support for the women of forestry.


At the same time, Sarah Davis (now Davidson) was working in her family forestry business R F Davis Logging, building up her knowledge and experience and learning the ropes from her logging Dad Ross Davis. Sarah lives and breathes forestry and is a strong advocate for the important role women play in running their businesses.


The need grows


Sarah and Sonya were already connected through the industry, and both could see there was a need for more female support, particularly for business owners where they are often the silent achievers keeping things running smoothly behind the scenes.


So, Sarah took the reins and organised the first Women in Forestry event, held in Rotorua in 2017, with about 30 women in attendance.


Kim Godfrey then stepped in to help Sarah Davidson coordinate the network with day to day operations, and a follow up event in Napier held in 2018 attracted similar numbers, and the group discussed future plans including how we could stay connected.


The present day


Fast forward to late 2019 and the Women in Forestry Network is formalising to take us to the next level. An e-newsletter, Facebook page and website have been introduced to keep members updated regularly, and more work is going on behind the scenes to offer more support for women in the future.


This includes:

  • Formalising a Women in Forestry advisory board of 5-6 key members

  • Securing a mentor – Hilary Webber – a founding member and inaugural Chair of the Dairy Women’s Network

  • Exploring funding avenues for the Network to cover operational costs

  • Developing our support package for women including exploring training options

  • Planning of a conference in Whangamata from 30 April – 2 May 2020


The purpose of the group


The Women in Forestry Network is a grassroots movement, set up to support women in the forestry industry. We have a focus on supporting female business owners, who are often under immense pressure running their businesses.


From time to time there are also opportunities for other women in the industry to be involved, including workers, forestry managers and women working in industry support roles.


We aim to provide support in the following ways:

  • Opportunities to connect face-to-face through events

  • Opportunities to connect digitally through emails, social media

  • Knowledge share through profile stories, tips and tricks and resources

  • Professional development through guest speakers, future training opportunities

  • Advocacy for women and the issues concerning the wider industry

  • Representation of women ‘at the table’ in key industry groups


Watch this space for more updates!