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Collective marketing of Tasmanian blackwood?

Wink Sutton's Blog
Friday, August 30, 2013

This year’s Farm Forestry AGM was held in the Lower North region. On one of the field day’s we visited Audrey Hay’s farm. While admiring a maturing stand of Tasmanian blackwood, Acacia melanoxylon, Alan Laurie raised the subject of collective marketing.

The largest resource of blackwood is in south Westland where more than a thousand hectares were established by the Forest Service. Blackwood was planted as a special purpose timber to be a replacement for rimu when supplies became limited. Other than the south Westland resource, farm forests appear to almost have a monopoly on the supply of blackwood. Alan proposed there was a strong case for collective marketing. New Zealand imports a small amount of Tasmanian blackwood and is prepared to pay very high prices for the privilege. Alan Laurie has seen a report suggesting that the best clear grades sawn and dried currently may sell for ‘$5,000 a cubic metre’. There is probably or soon will be enough blackwood in farm forestry woodlots to supply the country with most, and probably all, of its future annual needs.

The problem is how to achieve supply co-ordination. The present system of random selling could be depriving farm forest owners of high prices. But with supply co-ordination there may not be the freedom to sell exactly when the forest owner wishes. If there was a central register of suppliers, sales could be planned to ensure maximum prices were achieved. Buyers would tender, but in return would be guaranteed supply. The grower, as well as the nation, should benefit.

A guarantee of supply for five or 10 years should attract competitive bids from sawmillers and marketers. Forest owners may not be able to market their trees exactly at the time they wish but the prices obtained could be greater than currently expected.

Blackwood appears to be an ideal tree species with which to begin collective marketing. The timber has the obvious market advantage of being in limited supply but appears to be in constant demand. Demand may increase slightly if a constant supply is guaranteed and imports of blackwood timber are very expensive. The New Zealand Farm Forestry Association could explore how collective marketing of blackwood could be achieved.

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An inspiring wood advocate, Canadian architect Tye Farrow

Wink Sutton's Blog
Thursday, May 30, 2013

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of experiencing a presentation by the Canadian architect Tye Farrow. Jane Arnott, CEO of NZ Wood, deserves credit for arranging Tye’s visit and for organising several presentations and meetings around New Zealand.

Tye is an inspirational presenter and an enthusiastic wood advocate. His advocacy for wood comes from his attempt to make the environment attractive and exciting. Tye introduced the concept of ‘salutogenesis’ - true health that comes from the environment. If the environment is pleasant and inspiring people feel uplifted. If hospitals are pleasantly and innovatively designed, patient recovery is not only quicker, but also require less medication.

An extract from a Tye Farrow google search produces the following −

‘The concept of salutogenic design moves beyond conventional notions of sustainability to encompass not just the building’s impact on the environment, but also its impact on users. It becomes another measure of good design. ... we’re no longer going to settle for design that is simply profitable, or efficient, or sustainable, or programmatically compliant, or any of a dozen other measures of design success,' says Ray Pentecost, Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

Tye has wood-designed hospitals and public buildings in Canada as well as many other countries. At present there are no hospitals in New Zealand where wood is the major building material. Tye’s designs have won major awards. Patients have made very favourable comments.

Tye was awarded Canada’s Ministry of Health contracts for hospital design only because he was able to prove that building in wood was no more expensive than building in steel and concrete. We can only hope that Tye’s New Zealand visit has stimulated architects, hospital administrators and the government to follow what he has been achieved in Canada and other countries. Hospitals will benefit as well as wood growers. Examples of Tye Farrow’s innovative wooden buildings can be found on his home page

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Disclaimer: Personal views expressed in this blog are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent those of the NZ Farm Forestry Association.

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