Craig Wilson climbs trees for a living — and for fun, too.

Next month the Pirongia arborist, owner of Wilson Trees and Landscaping, hopes to be named the best tree-climber in the world.

Craig is one of four New Zealanders who will compete in the International Tree Climbing Championship (ITCC) in Ohio.

He qualified to enter after winning the New Zealand Tree Climbing Championship in Tauranga last year.


This week Craig has been based at Ruakura Research Centre in Hamilton on a job, and getting some training in while he's at it.

Joining him as a contractor is arborist Chrissy Spence, who will also compete at next month's international competition after winning it last year.

The other Kiwis taking on the challenge in Ohio are arborists Stef White and James Kilpatrick.

The four New Zealanders are among the 70 male and female tree-climbers representing 20 countries.

They are some of the best in the industry who have won the right to compete by winning preceding competitions around the world.

The challenge, held at Franklin Park in Columbus, aims to showcase arborists and educate the public about professional tree work.

It features five preliminary events which simulate work-related tasks when pruning and caring for trees.

They begin on Friday, August 3 and continue the following day.


The five events are the work climb (which includes five stations), aerial rescue (using a dummy), throwline (installing climbing lines), footlock (climbing a vertical rope) and speed climbing.

The competitors who score the highest in the preliminary events compete in the Masters' Challenge championship round on Sunday, August 5 for the title of male and female world champion.

It's the second time Craig will have represented New Zealand.

He competed in the international finals in Florida in 2015 and placed ninth.

This year he's hoping for a better result.

"It's certainly nerve-wracking going up on the international stage for a second time," he says.

"But I can't wait to get over there and give it my best."