The competition saw events testing competitors’ ability to professionally and safely manoeuvre in a tree, while performing work-related tree-care tasks efficiently. The final event Masters’ Climb then saw the National Champions crowned – women’s national champion Stef White (Central Otago) and men’s national champion Dale Thomas (Auckland).
Both Stef and Dale will now represent New Zealand at the International Tree Climbing Championships next year in Texas, United States.
The competition was part of NZ Arb’s annual conference with both events value for the industry according to NZ Arb President Chris Walsh.
“The conference and competition were outstanding successes. New Zealand has long been the breeding ground for the very best climbers, practicing arborists, and technologies – these events showcased the best of the best.”
Kevin Burt, Managing Director, Asplundh NZ agrees: “This year’s conference built on growing industry knowledge with new and innovative techniques and technologies, and an opportunity for the public to see top level climbers in action.”
This sentiment is supported by competition sponsor, Husqvarna – the company’s General Manager, Colin Stimpson says: “New Zealand’s pedigree in climbing competitions goes back a number of years and Kiwi arborists have regularly picked up world and regional titles, as well as records in individual disciplines – the skill level in this country is incredible.”
The conference also saw the 2015 Ronald Flook Award winner announced – an accolade acknowledging high standards of practice in arboriculture. This year’s recipient, Mark Roberts is the immediate past president of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) – the first president from the southern hemisphere. During his career, he has held a number of ISA portfolios, been a specialist high tree climber, lectured on all aspects of arboriculture and been a published author. Mark is a founding member and director of industry training company Thoughtplanters Ltd.