Kaitaia’s Forestry Specialists
Business View Oceania interviews Isaac Lloyd, Director at Lloyd Logging, for our Forestry View.
Lloyd Logging was brought to life by Director Isaac Lloyd in November of 2017. Situated in Kaitaia, known as the gateway to the Far North. Kaitaia means ‘ample food’, and with a population of just over six thousand, is the last major town before the northernmost tip of New Zealand. Lloyd Logging is part of a rich forestry industry in the area, working primarily in Summit Forest. Isaac himself grew up in the area. He begins, “I started my career working as a local logging contractor. Fast forward to 2017, I was approached by Summit Forest to start a business as one of their forestry partners, following talks with our local Māori tribe. Having been raised here, my name was thrown into the conversation, and the rest is history. Alongside Summit Forests, we also work for New Zealand Forestry and New Zealand Forest Products.” They were the ones that helped us get in the door, and they backed us while we got situated. As a young businessman, I was and still am very grateful for their support.”
Lloyd Logging works with forest owners and managers to control pests and weeds, replant harvested areas, thin non-crop trees, and responsibly harvest logs for export and domestic use. The company’s evolution since its beginnings has been focused on sourcing the best equipment, attracting skilled and passionate workers, and expanding to work with industry leaders throughout the region. Isaac explains, “Like many businesses in their first years, we started off with pretty old, second-hand gear. In order for us to begin scaling our offering, we had to purchase more modern tools. It was really important that our machines and equipment kept us safe and efficient. So, we sought out supplementary contracts, which is when we connected with New Zealand Forestry.”
He continues, “Once we purchased new tools, we were able to send the older gear to less equipment-intensive jobs, which led to our expansion from one to two crews in 2019. That really got the ball rolling- in the space of four years, we grew from nine men to 30. So, we began with seven machines, three vehicles, and one crew. Now, we have 18 machines, 20 vehicles, and four crews. We have evolved quite quickly and expect to continue to do so- I put that growth down to our awesome team, the relationships we’ve built with local forest owners and managers, and our brokerage partners at Finance New Zealand.”
The team at Lloyd Logging values loyalty, hard work, family, integrity, sustainability, and a hands-on, forward-thinking approach to forestry. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Isaac says staff rallied together to ensure everyone’s safety and wellbeing remained a top priority on and off the hill. “Our industry in New Zealand is pretty heavily dictated by the export market, even though domestic use is generally steady. When COVID hit, New Zealand’s overseas partners obviously had to scale back their dealings and decide what they did and didn’t want. It created some serious difficulties for forestry workers over here. Our business managed quite well thanks to our local knowledge and the really strong relationships we’ve built over the years, but we certainly weren’t untouched. My team worked hard to keep each other sane- the guys check in with each other regularly.”
Other challenges facing the industry include a shortage of skilled workers, but Lloyd Logging has remained largely unaffected. Isaac shares, “We have a strong sense of family here. Our staff are primarily long-term with us, and I’ve been able to help some of them start their own contracting businesses. We attract a lot of good workers thanks to our modern equipment, positive reputation, and strong values. But forestry in general is definitely struggling with its workforce. I think the major thing is forestry isn’t being pushed through schools as a potential career. Students aren’t aware of the opportunities our sector can offer, and not just in logging. There are many different roads to take- sustainability and management, logistics and transport, milling, silviculture, engineering, construction, mechanics… All sorts. But these kids, most of them have no idea until they leave school or ‘fall into’ the industry. It’s no easy game, and you certainly need the right people around you for support, but there are real opportunities for growth for anyone willing to put in the work.”
Sustainability is another priority for Lloyd Logging, who make it their mission to work with responsible partners to protect forest lands and the native species that call them home, as well as maintain respect for the cultural traditions of local Iwi. Summit Forests, for example, states: “It is immensely important for Summit Forests to work in partnership with local Iwi. Our aim is not only to find solutions which help us to manage our estate in a manner that benefits the local community and its people, but to develop opportunities to grow together for current and future generations. We can develop a business/partnership/capital solution to progress any joint venture idea, provide development and training opportunities for local people, and assist shareholders’ transition from landowner to forest owner- and eventually (through employment of people) forest managers.”
Isaac adds, “It’s always a gamble, investing in something when you don’t necessarily know what the outcome will be. When it comes to sustainability, everyone is working towards a common goal, so it makes sense that we throw our hat into the ring. That’s our responsibility as an operator. On the hill, we make sure our footprint is as small as it can possibly be. We started our own silviculture crew in September, and over the last month we have helped plant thousands of trees. We have more planting, pruning, and thinning in front of us for sure. I have a lot of respect for the guys doing the hard mahi- it’s a great gateway for young people looking to enter the bush as well, and we have already seen some great training opportunities.”
Lloyd Logging was also among the first of New Zealand’s crews to take delivery of a new generation 40-series Sumitomo loader model, which burns considerably less diesel than similar loaders. The loader was an instant hit with crews, featuring unique artwork that has continued to gather attention both on the hill and Lloyd Logging’s social media pages. Moving forward, this forestry and silviculture provider aims to focus on professional development for staff, with hopes to eventually set up a Lloyd Logging training group to educate the next generation of forestry workers.
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AT A GLANCE
What: Provider of forestry and silviculture services for forests in Far North Kaitaia
Where: Lloyd Logging is headquartered in Kaitaia, New Zealand