Forestry alliance launches in Te Tairāwhiti


30 AUGUST 2023

Iwi has joined with the forestry industry and government agencies to launch a new collective to improve forestry culture, hauora, health and safety for kaimahi in Te Tairāwhiti.

The Forestry Community Health and Safety Alliance, known as Te Kawa a Tāne, was launched today at Te Poho o Rawiri marae.

The alliance is underpinned by te ao Māori principles and values and was created following five regional leadership wānanga. These hui involved Te Rūnanga o Tūranganui-a-kiwa and Te Rūnanganui o Ngāti Porou.

“We know that Māori forestry workers in Te Tairāwhiti are seriously injured and killed at work at a disproportionate rate. This alliance presents a real opportunity for the community to work together to improve health and safety outcomes. We all have a lot of work to do in Aotearoa to better protect our forestry kaimahi from harm,” says WorkSafe’s chief executive, Phil Parkes.

The kawa (vision) of the alliance is that all people in the forestry industry are kept safe and live longer, whānau prosper, the natural environment thrives, and the economy is stable.

“After being part of the Te Kawa a Tāne rōpū for the past six months and seeing first-hand the sincerity and commitment shown by all involved, I have no doubts that we are on the verge of something big,” says Tene Hicks, one of the forestry kaimahi leaders involved.

The alliance is co-chaired by Ronald Nepe of Te Rūnanga o Tūranganui- a-Kiwa, and Philip Hope of the Eastland Wood Council.

“The most important asset in forestry is our kaimahi. Improving the safety culture for this high-risk industry requires leadership with a regional collective approach. Eastland Wood Council in conjunction with its members and stakeholders is totally committed to supporting Te Kawa a Tāne, which employs an evidence-based approach that uplifts the mana of our kaimahi,” says Philip Hope.

An accord has been created by the alliance which sets out commitments for those who sign it, to give effect to making a measurable difference in forestry to improve the culture and wellbeing within the forestry industry.

The alliance contributes to WorkSafe’s Maruiti 2027 strategy, which focuses on reducing fatalities, serious harm and health impacts on Māori in the workplace.