Official website of the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association

North Island Farm Forester of the Year - Gordon Perry

Author not published, New Zealand Tree Grower August 2010.

Gordon Perry lives at Hoteo, just a short distance from NZFFA founder Neil Barr’s farm. Gordon, his father and brother, purchased the property of 140 hectares from the Steventon family in 1973. Gordon’s father died the next year and Gordon bought out his brother in 1977.

The farm is reasonably steep sandstone, with a good covering of topsoil, and with nothing much between it and Australia, the wind is very strong.

Gordon decided this property was better planted in trees than used as a livestock venture and there have been no stock since 1996, so the word farm is no longer appropriate. It is a planted forest now, all financed from work off farm.

Plantings

Planting has been a struggle, but Gordon has managed to complete the silviculture on 100 hectares of radiata, although some prioritising has been needed to make the available money spin out. The balance is in native bush, which includes 18 hectares covenanted to a QE II covenant.

He has planted the front of the property in a variety of different species to break the green wall of pine, as Gordon describes it. Well pruned lusitanica and Acacia delbata all enhance the entrance to Gordon’s house, which is built using a fascinating mix of different timbers.

Eucalypts are also part of the mix, with Eucalyptus globoidea, E. muelleriana and E. microcorys all well sited.There is a cypresss trial showing the effect of wind on this species in this area.

Gordon realised early on that he needed advice and was encouraged to join Lower North branch by Marcus Dill. He has picked the brains of anyone with knowledge and put their advice to good effect, which sounds like a good reason to join the NZFFA. Gordon is now someone others come to for advice.

Gordon with Diny Dermer

QE II Covenants and the community

These covenants include a stand of kauri connected by a corridor along the Hoteo River. Gordon has, in association with Auckland Regional Council, iwi, and Forest and Bird, fenced the river and planted the riparian strips in locally sourced natives.

Admiring some of the kauri

Gordon has been a member of the NZFFA since 1988. He has been on the Branch committee for many years, including a term as chairman. He has also acted as councillor.

He has been vice chair of Auckland Federated Farmers, is a member of Forest and Bird, supports a family in Bali, is an invited member of the Auckland Botanical Society, and works with scientists on grass endophytes.

In the context of his now senior role as a farm forester, he gets many calls from locals about what to plant and does plans for lifestyle block holders. All this he does while still holding a full time job.

Part of the 100 hectares of radiata
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