Apples, avocados, wine and Kiwifruit. Hardly the typical products one associates with a timber mill.
But at PermaPine, it’s all in a day’s work as the roundwood and poles they produce play a central role in the farming, horticulture, viticulture, construction and marine industries.
The mill has its roots in Kaingaroa Forest where Sharon and Bruce Whale began producing peeled roundwood, until the NZ Forest Service asked them to relocate and they bought the current site in Reporoa in the late seventies. In 2004, PermaPine, a private company with a number of shareholders, bought the business.
PermaPine also has a partnership in a smaller second processing site in Rotorua and between the two sites employs 80 staff. Upgrades over the years have included increased peeling capacity, increased drying and treating capacity and additional land, with the site now a roomy 32 hectares.
Its main log suppliers are Timberlands, Hancock and Blakely Pacific. With the primary product being roundwood with a diameter up to 250mm and the main processes being peeling, drying and treating, this sector comes with its own challenges.
Site Manager, Ian Piebenga, explains: “The products we produce are mostly round and product outturns are dependent on the size and quality of logs we receive from our log suppliers. A good portion of our log feedstock is sourced from the very tops of harvested trees.” ...
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