New Arborist of the Year Award

The New Arborist of the Year Competition (NAOTY) began in 2013 with the first event held in Queenstown. The competition was developed to promote the new arborists in the industry and allow them to have an event that challenges them with individuals of similar experience.

With great local sponsors supporting us and Husqvarna providing some exciting prizes, this competition provides a fantastic platform for new arborists in the industry.

The opportunities to network, upskill and gain recognition with industry leaders will be sure to inspire any new arborist to this innovative and dynamic career.

Year Recipient
2018 Yoan Willman, Tree Menders Ltd
2017 Joshua Talsma, Tree Menders Ltd
2016 Josh Symes, Wellington City Council
2015 Craig Lamb, Wintec
2014 Scott Geddes, Treescape
2013 Stephen Griffiths, Hamilton City Council

The competition itself is run over two parts; the regional events and the national finals.

The regional NAOTY competitions are held in conjunction with the Regional Tree Climbing Competitions (TCC’s).

The two regional winners take home prizes and the opportunity to attend the Annual Arboriculture Conference and the National TCC event, along with a place to compete in the finals for the New Arborist of the Year Award.


The Five National Events

  • Tree ID Test – This test comprises of 30 tree samples ranging from foliage, fruit, cones and dried specimens. It requires the finalists to correctly identify and name the tree samples.
  • Knots Test – Each competitor will be required to tie and apply a range of knots commonly used in arboriculture.
  • Quick Fire Quiz – Facing off against each other, the finalists demonstrate their knowledge over 60 industry related questions.
  • Aerial Rescue – Using the format of the NTCC, the finalists will each preform an aerial tree rescue and showcase their skills in the tree.
  • Work Site Hazard Assessment – The competitors will need to accurately assess a simulated tree work environment.

Rules and Conditions

The New Arborist competition is designed to test competitors of similar experience.

Therefore, a limit of three years’ experience within the arboricultural industry is the only entry requirement, (other than TCC guidelines).

Whether it’s your first day at tech or your first day on the job as an apprentice – you now qualify to enter.

The three-year qualifying period ends at the competitors qualifying regional competition.

Competitors can only qualify for the finals event at their own regional TCC. However, all climbers are welcome to compete at other TCC events.

Quick Fire Quiz Rules


There are 60 Questions.

You need to give the most correct answer.

Only answer when acknowledged by the judge.

You must start your answer within 2 seconds of being acknowledged.

Incorrect answers will deduct a point, and the question will then be put back to the remaining contestants - once.

Knots Test Rules

Each competitor is required to correctly tie and apply a series of knots that are regularly used in tree work.                       

Each knot must be approved by the judge before continuing. A knot may be passed on and retried after all other knots have been attempted.

Encouraging, fostering, improving and educating in all aspects of arboriculture throughout New Zealand.