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The 2017 NZARES conference
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Linking up with other organisations for events
At the AGM NZARES members indicated an interest in linking with other organisations for events. This could take different forms such as active participation or sponsorship. The committee is currently investigating some possible linkages, and will follow up on ideas from members
- so if you have some bright ideas please send them to
The 2016 NZARES conference
Addressing contemporary challenges: Business, agriculture, natural resources and the environment
Paul Morgan, Wakatu Incorporation, opened the NZARES 2016 conference with a stirring presentation about an underinvestment of New Zealand in research and development and in branding, and an over-focus on production. He shared the Wakatu history and culture, their long term strategy of connecting with people in the market, building their brands and investing in developing capability.
These messages were the theme of many of the speakers throughout the conference proceedings, such as Craig Greenlees in the marketing panel session. Craig described the kiwifruit marketing moving from a commodity model of price/volume negotiation towards a differentiated product through the recognition of its health benefits. Investment in scientific research has helped to identify the health benefits of eating kiwifruit, and this is enabling the fruit to be repositioned in the market and helping to drive sales.
The panel sessions were well received, and the mix of finance, the environment, marketing and Brexit seemed about right. Some key points from the panel members were:
- Graeme Doole: Economic models are often about a single point in time. It can also be valuable to account for adoption or transition.
- Suzi Kerr: There should be one tool for each problem, but often one tool is trying to deal with multiple problems.
- Alan Renwick: Brexit may lead to a domino effect, with slower UK growth likely to slow down other markets, and slow progress with trade liberalisation.
Many of the contributed paper sessions focused on NZ’s primary exports, for example exploring how New Zealand could gain from exporting wood products rather than sawn logs. This extended the theme of the field trip (see below).
The linkage of agriculture and greenhouse gas emissions provided some interesting papers, including the farm system change impact on greenhouse gas emissions on Māori farms. Consumer preference, such as willingness to pay for socially responsibly products, was a popular topic.
Smart technology was the topic of a few papers and an area where interest in it is likely to grow. Covered at the conference was the use of ST to allow producers to identify credence and enable consumers to make choices according to their preferences. Survey results suggest that product credence is of particular importance to shoppers in developing countries. The role of ST in transferring data from farms to regulators to assist monitoring and compliance was a topic of another paper in this area.
Pre conference field trip: Adding value to our forests
Forestry is New Zealand’s third largest primary industry. It earns $4 billion/annum export revenue, $3 billion/annum domestic revenue, and employs 20,000 New Zealanders. The Nelson Marlborough region is an important part of New Zealand’s forest industry. The region accounts for nearly 10% (166,798 hectares) of New Zealand’s forest. Radiata pine is the dominant forest in the Nelson Marlborough region (93%).
The New Zealand wood industry capitalises upon international demand for high quality, sustainable, certified, legal and innovative wood products. These include traditional products such as solid and engineered wood, pulp, paper, packaging and panels, and also exciting new products such as wood-based plastics, biochemicals and fuels.
In addition to timber and forest products, the industry is keen to promote the ecosystem services it provides, which include recreation spaces and opportunities, carbon sequestration, avoided erosion and native bird habitat.
The importance of New Zealand’s forest industry was a focus of 2016 NZARES Conference. Dr Tim Payn (Scion), Dr Dave Evison (University of Canterbury) and Mr Murray Sturgeon (Nelson Pine Industries Ltd) spoke about the future for New Zealand forestry sector, and the opportunities for adding value.
The NZARES conference in Nelson provided an excellent opportunity to find out how Nelson-based businesses are creating great products from Radiata pine. Richard Yao (Scion) and Darran Austin (MPI), with assistance from Dave Evison (University of Canterbury) organised a pre-conference field trip to visit the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, Nelson Pine Industries Limited, and XLam: Cross Laminated Timber Panels.
Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology
The Arts and Media Building of the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (322 Hardy Street, Nelson) is a showcase landmark timber building, and is the first of its kind in the country. It is constructed from locally grown, milled and manufactured wood, and serves as a place to teach and exhibit art and inform industry of the creative possibilities of structural timber.
Andrew Irving of Irving Smith Architects showed field trip attendees through the building, explaining its features - from the building’s positioning to the north to take advantage of passive heat, to the circulation atrium providing variant light conditions at each level. The building opens to the city, and in its structure, encourages the city to ‘look inside’ and enjoy the building.
The Arts and Media Building showcases the innovation of local manufacturers in adding value to the locally grown Radiata pine. Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL) produced by Nelson Pine Industries has been used in all structural components. The post-tensioned timber shear walls are produced by XLam. These manufacturing features contribute to this world first timber design for seismic resilience.
Architect Andrew Irving explains the earthquake resistant qualities of the NMIT wooden building. The large windows give the feel of being part of the city (Photo: Richard Yao).
The LVL used in the Arts and Media Building was supplied by local firm, Nelson Pine Industries.
Nelson Pine Industries
The second stop of the field trip itinerary was at Nelson Pine Industries (NPI) (Lower Queens Street, Richmond). NPI sees itself as a world leader in innovative wood processing, producing high quality, valuable products from locally grown Radiata pine. NPI has the capacity to process one million cubic metres of raw wood per annum, equal to 40% of the region’s annual harvest.
Jason Guiver, Project Development Manager, gave us a tour of NPI’s multimillion dollar processing plant at Richmond where LVL has been produced since the early 2000s. The process turns Radiata pine, which takes 28 years to maturity, into a strong and versatile building product that compares favourably with tropical hardwoods that take 200 years to maturity.
Jason Guiver (NPL) shows attendees the laminated vinyl lumber product (Photo: Richard Yao).
The third stop in the field trip was at XLam: Cross Laminated Timber Panels (Beatty St, Tahunanui), where Neil Dodunski (General Manager) and Mike Pratt (Contracts Manager) showed attendees through the manufacturing plant, and explained the processes that XLam uses to produce shear walls, staircases, and residential floors and roofs.
Mike Pratt describes the demand in the domestic and international market for XLam products (Photo: Richard Yao).
The big cost benefits of XLam include lighter building foundations, high accuracy through factory prefabrication, fast assembly and a small site construction team. Mike explained that although the wood panels are more expensive than concrete, their lighter weight reduces the cost of foundations making the overall building costs similar between the two competing materials.
The recipient of the 2016 Heading West Award was Prince Maxwell Etwire. His research is on Impact of Climate Change and Variability on Choice of Farming Systems in Ghana.
Three NZARES Post Graduate prizes were awarded in 2016. Congratulations to Thang Chien Mai, Massey University, Amarachukwu Anyanwu (Anthony) Lincoln University, and Prince Etwire, Otago University.