Reluctantly, following numerous discussions and calls with sawmilling companies throughout New Zealand and Australia, the decision has been made by FIEA to postpone the two-yearly sawmilling event, WoodTECH 2021 that was due to run in Rotorua, New Zealand on 3-4 August. It’ll be the first time in 20 plus years.
As of mid-June, international borders remain closed which has precluded many presenters, exhibitors and delegates from outside New Zealand unable to attend this year. Melbourne, Australia is still in and out of lockdown and there is a still a reluctance in Australia to travel inter-state. This has meant Australian mills are unable to meet together, as they usually do, at this two-yearly event.
Mills spoken to have been disappointed and again, the virtual experience or running webinars isn’t quite the same. One of the major benefits to operational staff is that they come through to a central location within each country, to get away from the production environment for a few days and to network with their counterparts from mills across the country. The networking between saw-doctors and production staff has always proved to be invaluable.
And finally, as we all know, post COVID-19 has resulted in an unprecedented level of building activity across Australasia. As a consequence, mills are working extra shifts and extra hours to meet this demand. This means that many of the mills we’ve been speaking to over the last month or so are concerned that they’ll be unable to get into Rotorua to attend the event or even participate remotely – as right now – they’re all just too busy.
So, whilst being unsettling for presenters and exhibitors that were involved, all have agreed, that it does make sense under the current environment. The plan instead is to run a very similar programme – much the same content and speakers as set up for WoodTECH 2021. It will instead, run in both Rotorua, New Zealand on 18-19 May and then again in Melbourne, Australia on 24-25 May 2022.
We’re hopeful that most international borders will be open to travel and many of our international presenters – and exhibitors – who haven’t been out to Australasia for at least a couple of years, will instead be able to participate in person to present and exhibit at the 2022 series – and to meet up with their customers. So, mark the new dates into your diary.
Updates will be supplied with a new programme being set up by FIEA, sawmill tech and equipment suppliers and local mills, later in the year.