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NZ sawmill set to create 50 jobs

3 September 2020

Kiwi Lumber is to set up permanent operations following the successful trial of a sawmill at Matawhero, Gisborne. The operation will create 50 jobs and pave the way for NZ$15 million of capital investment over the next three years and a substantial investment in systems and teams.

Kiwi Lumber managing director Adam Gresham is confident the Matawhero mill can be highly successful. “Kiwi Lumber wouldn’t take this site on unless we were confident we could make a go of it,” Mr Gresham said.

“Gisborne will be our fourth sawmill site in the North Island. We are pleased with the results of the trial and excited about making our arrangements permanent through a lease with Trust Tairawhiti.”

Trust Tairawhiti chairman Dr Paul Reynolds reinforced the significance of growing wood processing to the region. “The trust invested in local infrastructure to act as a catalyst for growth in the wood processing sector. Tairawhiti currently processes 6 percent of wood, compared to 39 percent nationally.

“Kiwi Lumber will not only employ locals, they will also contribute to a more diverse wood industry and a more resilient Tairawhiti economy,” Dr Reynolds said. Trust Tairawhiti commercial general manager Richard Searle has worked closely with Kiwi Lumber during initial discussions and the trial period.

“Kiwi Lumber are experienced in running very successful timber processing businesses, taking on troubled sites, turning them around and growing them as part of their group,” he said. They have demonstrated 70 percent revenue growth in their sawmilling businesses over the past five years. We welcome that experience and track record to our region.”

Mr Gresham described Kiwi Lumber as a growing, progressive sawmilling company marketing radiata pine to the USA, Australia, Europe, Asia and New Zealand customers. The group consists of sawmills in Masterton, Dannevirke and Putaruru — employing 275 staff — and now Gisborne.

About 50 people will be employed at Kiwi Lumber Gisborne, increasing permanent employment in the region through the creation of a range of roles. Mr Gresham said Kiwi Lumber was pleased to be creating jobs at a time when the impact of Covid-19 was contributing to job losses and a lot of uncertainty in businesses and the workplace.

Source: Gisborne Herald

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