Growing diversity in the forestry sector

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

Māori and women interested in pursuing careers in forestry science are encouraged to apply for the 2021 Ngā Karahipi Uru Rākau - Forestry Scholarships which are now open.

According to the recently-released Forestry and Wood Processing Workforce Action Plan, Māori make up only 22 per cent of the forestry workforce, while only 17 per cent of this workforce is female. The Forestry Scholarships help address this imbalance. Whether graduates become forestry scientists, forest engineers, or pursue the range of other careers in forestry, the scholarships are helping to make the sector more diverse.

Eight scholarship recipients will receive $8000 per year for four years to help with tuition and living costs while studying forestry science degrees at the University of Canterbury - either a Bachelor of Forestry Science or Bachelor of Engineering with Honours, majoring in Forestry Engineering. Scholars will also gain experience through paid annual summer internships in the forestry sector.

"Aotearoa's forestry industry is world-leading when it comes to research and technology.  Ngā Karahipi Uru Rākau - Forestry Scholarships are helping grow the next generation of forestry professionals and scientists," Forestry Minister Shane Jones said.

"Forestry science will play a key role over the next few years as New Zealand recovers from the impacts of COVID-19. We need forestry professionals and scientists so we can keep our forestry industry at the cutting-edge, producing wood products that are highly sought around the world", said Jones.

"This will translate to more employment opportunities and economic benefits for forestry communities around New Zealand."

More information can be found on Te Uru Rākau's website.