New arborist competition goes off - 28th Oct 2013

Mat Miller acting as quiz master at the NAOTY

New Arborist of the Year competition could go off shore

October 24th saw the start of the 2013 New Zealand Arboricultural Association (NZAA) annual conference and the finals of the inaugural New Arborist of the Year competition.

The competition, a brainchild Otago Polytechnic’s Mat Miller saw arborists new to the industry competing in a range of practical skills and theoretical challenges.

Preliminary events were held in conjunction with each of the four NZ Regional Tree Climbing competitions. From the thirty-five entrants the four finalists were: Callum Hay from Auckland, Stephen Griffith from the Waikato, Jamie Hartley from Wellington and Sam James from Christchurch.

The final competition was held over two days and saw the contestants demonstrating their skills and knowledge in plant identification, aerial rescue, knot tying, work-site set up and a quick-fire general knowledge quiz. Apart form the watchful eyes of the NZAA conference attendees, the President of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Terry Flanagan and the ISA’s Director of Educational Goods and Services, Sharon Lilly also watched on.

Both Terry and Sharon were very impressed, with Sharon commenting that she is considering taking the competition to an international audience, through the ISA. ‘The competition encompasses the many aspects of arboriculture while encouraging excellence and the involvement of those new to the industry’.

Stephen Griffith took out the prize of New Zealand’s Young Arborist of the Year competition.

Everything is on TRAQ - 15th Oct 2013

The first Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (TRAQ) courses are about to begin in Australasia and Singapore.

October 16 sees TRAQ kicking off in Auckland, followed by Wellington then across the Tasman to Brisbane and onto Singapore. It will be a busy few weeks for TRAQ trainer Terry Flanagan.

TRAQ is a tree risk assessment program created and administered by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). It is a vehicle whereby individuals engaged in the arboricultural industry can expand their knowledge through education and training in the fundamentals of tree risk assessment in order to promote safety of people and property; enhance tree benefits, health and longevity; and minimise/manage identified risks trees may present.

Terry Flanagan, current president of the ISA will not only be delivering the course but he will also be completing the teacher/trainer requirements for New Zealand local trainer Mark Roberts. To maintain the quality and validity of the programme, the ISA have a strict trainer apprentice programme. TRAQ trainers are required to undergo teacher training, demonstrate advanced knowledge of tree risk assessment, sit in on at least two TRAQ courses then co-teach. If Mr Roberts passes, he will be the first Australasia based TRAQ trainer.

New Arborist of the Year Competition - 23rd Aug 2013

The New Zealand Arboricultural Association, in association with WEL Networks and Thoughtplanters, is introducing a new competition to find the top ‘New Arborist’ in New Zealand.

This competition is for arborists with up to 3 years experience in the industry.

Thoughtplanters is proud to be a sponsor of this event; it's a logical extension of the Student Mentor lunch that we also support, said Trevor Gardiner, Thoughtplanters CEO.

The competition will start with regional qualifiers held in conjunction with the regional Tree Climbing Competitions (TCCs). From there the winners will compete at the National Conference (Queenstown, October 24 – 26). The final competition will consist of a mixture of theory and practical tests as well as social interactions with industry leaders at the Student Mentor lunch.

More information can be found on the New Zealand Arboricultural Association’s web site @

ITCC Steering Committee to be headed by Kiwi - 20th Aug 2013

ISA President Elect Mark Roberts to Chair ITCC steering committee

At the request of the ISA Board of Directors, the ISA President and Executive Director are forming a steering committee to develop a business plan supporting an expanded purpose statement for the International Tree Climbing Championship (ITCC).

ISA President Elect Mark Roberts has been asked to Chair this committee and progress the review.  The committee will include representatives from many stakeholder groups.

The purpose of the International Tree Climbing Championships (ITCC) is to provide competitive but educational opportunities for working arborists to demonstrate and exchange new climbing techniques. The success of the Championships to date lies with the passion and dedication of the countless of volunteers and the committed staff at the ISA. ‘It's a big ask, but I’m excited at the prospect’, Mr Roberts said.

The ITCC program is impacted by the efforts of several other volunteer groups at ISA, such as ISA Annual Conference, the Safety Committee, and public and industry relations. As a result, additional staff will need to be involved in this effort so that other programs aren't negatively impacted during this process of developing an expanded program focus supported by a long-term, sustainable business plan.

Staff expected to be involved in the process includes:
  • Director of Finance and Operations
  • Process and Facilities Manager
  • Conference and Events Manager
  • Public Relations and Marketing Manager
  • Trade Show and Sponsorship Manager

The ISA Executive Director is also requesting a coordinator-level staff position be created to support ITCC committee activity during this process. The new position will report to the Conference and Events Manager. Responsibilities of this position would include assisting the Operations and Rules committees for each of the regional ETCC, APTCC, and NATCC events. This position would coordinate the steering committee meetings, including taking minutes and supporting the Conference and Events Manger and ISA Executive Director with meeting management and follow-up for the committee Chair. Creation of this position will provide the committee with a better idea as to what level of support is really needed to make these events sustainable.

The Public Relations and Marketing Manager is the current support staff for ITCC activities At this point, the time invested in this program is largely unbudgeted time. The additional staff person will take over ITCC operational and rules committee support so that the Manager is freed up to work on website development and public relations for the ITCC program. This will also allow the Manger to focus appropriate time and attention for public relations and marketing activities supporting ISA,, and ISA programs such as conference, certification, and membership. It is recommended that the transition from the current staff position to the new position would include a period of overlap. The transition of responsibility will require some joint activity until the new coordinator is ready to take over. A detailed job description will define all major responsibilities of this position, which would be created and filled in the 2013-14 fiscal year.

Kiwis become world's best tree climbers - 14th Aug 2013

Team Kiwi 2013 - James Kilpatrick, Nicky Ward-Allen and Scott Forrest. (photo by Mark Roberts) By Simon Wong [3 News Online Reporter] Tuesday 13 Aug 2013

Three Kiwis have climbed their way to the top for the second time, taking out world titles for competitive tree climbing in Canada in treemendous fashion.

Scott Forrest, the 2011 World Champion and current Asia Pacific Champion, regained his world title while Nicky Ward-Allen, the current New Zealand women's champion, was crowned the world women's champion for the first time.

James Kilpatrick, the current New Zealand men's champion and former Asia Pacific champion, finished third overall.

Ward-Allen and Kilpatrick also won the head-to-head footlock event – a timed 15-metre ascent up a free-hanging rope.

The New Zealand team took out the overall team prize.

New Zealand Arboricultural Association president Bruce MacDonald says it is great to repeat the team's 2011 success and "shows our climbers are consistently among the best in the world".

The country's arborist industry is in a "golden age" with the latest wins and also with a New Zealander as President-Elect of the International Society of Arboriculture, Mr MacDonald says.
Professional tree climbing competitions are made up of five separate disciplines which give competitors a cumulative score.

Top tree climbers then compete in a climb-off up a "particularly challenging tree" to decide final placings.
Kiwi climbers firmly planted their roots in the competitive climbing scene when Chrissy Spence won the first of her three world titles in 2005.

Since then Kiwis have regularly ranked highly in international competitions.
There has been no word on whether the team will go for the tree-peat at the next world championships.

Click here to read the full article @ TV3 on-line news

2013 NZ National Tree Climbing Championship dates - 15th Jul 2013

2013 NZ National Tree Climbing Championship dates

The 2013 New Zealand Arboricultural Association and Husqvarna National Tree Climbing Championships

The New Zealand Arboricultural Association and Husqvarna are running four Regional, and one National Tree Climbing Championships across New Zealand. This is your chance to meet, compete, learn new techniques, and see first hand how some of the best do it. The regional events will determine who qualifies for the National Tree Climbing Championship in Queenstown in October.

The winners National Tree Climbing Championship event will get the chance to represent the New Zealand at the International Tree Climbing Championship in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, August 2014

The championships will be run as per the International Society of Arboriculture International Tree Climbing Championship Rules. These can be downloaded from:

Location Date Contact
Auckland Whangarei Sep 7
Waikato to be confirmed Sep 14
Wellington Upper Hutt Sep 21
South Island Christchurch Sep 28
National Queenstown Oct 26 & 27

Entry Fees are:
Student / NZArb Members: Regional $10.00 National $30.00
Non Members: Regional $50.00 National $150.00

It is up to the competitor to ensure that all of their equipment is up to competition standard. Your equipment will be inspected prior to the competition and NZArb reserves the right to approve and/or reject any equipment prior to or during event.

To compete in the ISA International Tree Climbing Championships (the Asia-Pacific and/or the International competitions) you will need to be a member of NZArb or the International Society of Arboriculture

It's complicated: tertiary education in Australia - 24th Jun 2013

Confirming what we have already learnt, tertiary education in Australia in complicated. Below is an article from the Australian National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).

Australia’s tertiary education and training sector is complex and shaped by diverse views and tensions, according to prominent national researchers and commentators on education.

The book of essays, Structures in tertiary education and training: a kaleidoscope or merely fragments? Research readings, published by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) explores current thinking in light of significant reforms in post-school education.

“In broad terms, reaching a common understanding of the dynamics of the system is not easy. When we talk about tertiary education we’re not all talking about the same thing”, says Dr Tom Karmel, Managing Director, NCVER.

Within the waves of recent reform, the sector has steadily adopted the language of markets, with a number of essayists picking up the point that education is seen as an ‘investment’. But as Dr Karmel points out, we need to be clear that we are talking about an unusual market, both in terms of its ‘product’ and its ‘customers’.

“In the VET system, there isn’t a clear view of who is the customer. Is it the student, who acquires knowledge and skills, or the employer, who ultimately employs skilled staff?

“This also prompts the question of who should pay for what. To establish the underpinnings and value of each part of the sector, we need greater clarity about the purpose of public funding, as well as a clear alignment between funding regimes and policy objectives.

“One thing is clear, there is little appetite for a single, integrated tertiary education sector. Variety within the sector is definitely considered a good thing”, says Dr Karmel.

The book of 13 chapters is organised in four parts: the future of education, economic issues, the political economy and industry and community.

Copies of Structures in tertiary education and training: a kaleidoscope or merely fragments? Research readings are available from:

Breakfast with the British High Commissioner - 6th Jun 2013

The build up to the 2014 New Zealand International Science Festival begins

Thoughtplanters Academic Director Mark Roberts is to attend a breakfast with the British High Commissioner Vicki Treadell. Mrs Treadell along with Stuart Dillon-Roberts from the Digital Office will be talking about some of their current science initiatives and developments in communications and technology.

The breakfast is being organised by the NZ International Science Festival and is part of their 2014 build up. The NZ International Science Festival is designed to celebrate and promote education and research in the fields of science, the environment, and technology, and to foster awareness of the contributions which scientific, technological, and environmental endeavours make to society with particular emphasis on the excellence of the achievements in these fields attained in New Zealand.

For more information about the NZ International Science festival click here

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