Feature - NZ Timber

A Cut Above

And that’s likely to be the best option for some farmers and woodlot owners around New Zealand in the future, as access and transport costs affect the economics of harvesting forests in very remote locations.


What better way to cut those trees into saleable, or just usable, wood than by employing the New Zealand-developed and manufactured Mahoe portable sawmills.


These robust Kerikeri-built mills have been used in woodlots and forests in New Zealand and around the world for more than 30 years and they’re as popular as ever.


But Mahoe might never have come about if not for a lucky find. Company principals, John and Ben Bergman never set out to be mill manufacturers. It just happened.


The Bergman family, originally from Wellington, had a house re-piling business and purchased a farm in the Bay or Islands where they found some old Kauri logs in the bush while pig hunting.  They applied to the Forestry Department to salvage and mill it on site, sometimes travelling 1-to-2 hours on rough forestry tracks and later heli-logging to recover inaccessible logs.


There were no portable sawmills on the market, let alone any that could be easily transported or broken down and flown to the inaccessible salvage kauri logs.


Although there was an old mill at the farm, which is still in use today, they had a small, portable twin-saw unit custom-built to mill the huge Kauri logs in the bush, which John then re-built over the following years, improving on the design as they toyed with the idea of producing their own one day.


The Bergman’s also had a cheese-making business, using milk...



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