Mill town festival celebrates timber artists

As a town that was founded on the back of a booming logging industry and the ensuing pulp and paper mill, Kawerau is the perfect venue to hold the annual WoodFest event, celebrating all things wood.

Held in conjunction with the Kawerau National Woodskills Competition, WoodFest attracts 12,000 visitors annually who come to see Australasia’s best carvers and woodturners and their amazing creations.

Entrants into the Woodskills competition have more than 15 categories to consider entering including pinus radiata, carving, sculpture, woodturning, furniture, toys, models and games, musical instruments, youth and indigenous carving.

Top timber sculpting artists will have the full week to work on their pieces, with no restrictions on what tools they can use.

The Woodskills Exhibition, showcasing the products of the Woodskills Competitions, will be held in the Ron Hardie Recreation Centre starting with the prizegiving on September 26. It is an opportunity for sponsors, artists and the public to both view and reserve exhibits for purchase after the weekend has concluded.

Several categories will be awarded with prizes including the Ru Heather memorial, Kawerau Rotary Accolade, Lily Stubbs Memorial Honours Board and Roy Buckley Youth Award.

The public are also encouraged to vote for their favourite entry in a special category, celebrating a wild and adventurous nod to Kiwiana.

WoodFest culminates in a weekend of wood-related events and competitions: chainsaw races, woodchopping competitions, the Purex World Record Games, and the Big Dig and Diddy Dig competitions.

The Big Dig Competition is an extreme woodchip shovelling competition where teams vie to shovel 3m3 of wood chip into a giant ‘Foote’ bin.

The Pacific Toyota Diddy Dig is the children’s version of the Big Dig, where teams of four primary school students compete to be the fastest to shovel half a cubic metre of woodchip into a specially-made diddy bin.

In addition to wood-related events and competitions, the festival is also packed with free, fun family activities including a Truck Pull, the Hubbard Contracting FMX Pro Show and the BMX Freestyle Crew.

Spectators will also witness the NZCT Bike Trials, with demonstrations throughout the weekend and a competition on Sunday. Originating in Spain, trial riding tests bicycle handling skills through a variety of natural and manmade obstacles.

Kawerau WoodFest is on September 28-29. Door entry to the National Woodskills competition is $10 for adults or $5 for senior citizens; under 12s enter for free.


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