Northland Presidents Report 2016

Northland Presidents Report 2016

Sometimes it’s hard to remember and reflect on the things that happen in a wood chopping season, especially when you’re trying to keep warm by the fire in mid-July. In a lot of ways, it’s been business as usual but there were some notable highlights too.

Top of the list would have to be the number of boys who seem to have taken an interest in the sport just lately. While not reflected in our official membership register (yet!) we’ve had 6-8 young guys take the opportunity to hop on an underhand block at regular meetings and its fantastic to see Dads and sons, Uncles and nephews getting into it. Obviously we’re keen to keep them rolling and hope to see them continue on.

In February the Kauri Museum at Matakohe were looking to add a piece about the sport of woodchopping to their vast exhibition and approached us for help. A series of videos were produced titled ‘Axemen Legends’ and the original idea was to have prominent local axemen talk about the various disciplines. In the end the personal story of each ‘legend’ is what really came to the fore and is what makes these videos particularly special. Nelson Parker, Bill Carter, Bruce and Neville Alexander and Jason Semenoff are featured – check them out on YouTube using search term ‘axemen legend’. You’ll be impressed.

The other highlight is the return of energy to the Whangarei area with the formation of the Ngati Hine Axemen’s Club who have revived one meeting (Whangarei A & P Show) and added another to the annual calendar (Hukerenui Hotel). After an initial test run in February 2016 the meeting at Hukerenui was deemed a success by sponsors, hosts and competitors alike so it’s been officially sanctioned and ‘on the calendar’. This coming season the organisers have really got in behind it and set up an Underhand Championship event with first place prize money of $1000 to be run. They seem to have a never ending supply of Radiata up there so it’s great to see that type of timber being put up too.

Importantly, I’d like to publicly acknowledge Narina Larsen who has resigned as Treasurer, a position she’s held for 18 seasons straight. What an effort! Thank god she didn’t say "resigning as handicapper".

Her resignation shows us that the lack of depth in wood chopping isn’t only about competitor numbers, it’s in the backroom as well as in the chopping arena itself. In my view the answer amounts to simply getting more people involved + actively sharing everything you know with anyone who cares to listen.

In closing, a big thank you to everyone involved in our meetings especially if you’re a volunteer helper or if you’ve travelled from outside our region to chop with us.We hope to see you all again in 2017.

PS: The 2017 Warkworth A & P show is a 2-day meeting this year.

John Sanderson 28 July 2016