Two young woodchoppers are proving to be chips off the old block.
Levin 6-year-old Caiden Strother is following in his parents' footsteps by taking up competitive woodchopping. Both his parents were past New Zealand representatives in their chosen sport.
It was during the Covid-19 lockdown period that he first took to chopping, after watching his father Aiden and his mother Chelsea in action. He walked up to his mum and dad, who were doing some training to pass the time, and said "can I have a go?"
Aiden Strother found an old axe in the shed and ran his thumb over the tip of the blade to make sure it was blunt.
"I sharpened it a little bit. But it was just a tomahawk," he said.
Now he is entering competitions with his parents. At the Horowhenua AP&I Show at the weekend, the youngster grabbed his axe, took his mark, and waited for the starter's orders.
Caiden has a headstart on his old man, though. Strother snr didn't take up woodchopping until he was in his early 20s. He was encouraged by an uncle that lived in Taumarunui, Trevor Barret, to give the sport a try.
"It was the uncle that started me off. He said you're not going to be an All Black ..."
Caiden's mother Chelsea joined in competition three years ago after being bored just watching. In a short time she has made the New Zealand women's team for the cross cut saw event, competing in an international cross cut saw event in Australia in 2019.
Aiden had also represented New Zealand in cross cut sawing, competing against Australia in Sydney seven years ago. Standing at six-foot-two-inches and weighing 130kg, his broad frame can make short work of a block of wood.
The double hand saw event was one the Strothers could team up in too, called the "Jack and Jill" saw race at competition.
The Strother family belong to the Horowhenua Axemen's Club, which has undergone a resurgence in recent years with strong membership numbers, having survived a lull that saw participation drop.
Meanwhile, Caiden wasn't the only youngster to turn heads at the show. The same thing could be said for Ruby Rasmussen, a 10-year-old from Ōtaki who also boasts a strong woodchopping pedigree.
Her father Hayden Rasmussen belongs to the Ōtaki Axemen's Club and was himself a former New Zealand representative.
Ruby also wanted to be involved after having watched her father competing, and first started swinging an axe a few years ago made by her grandfather Graham Rasmussen.
In a short time she had picked up the correct technique under the watchful eye and with coaching from her father, who himself started woodchopping at a young age.
In 1998, at 14 years old Hayden Rasmussen was the youngest competitor in the under-21 New Zealand Axemen's team, and competed in the Australasian championships at age 15.
He had always kept a close eye over Ruby, who he said was safety conscious and had been taught the correct techniques from an early age.
"When you are starting out, don't be in a panic to win. It's safety first," he said.
"She's a wise old head on young shoulders."
It was a real family affair for the Rasmussens, too. His wife Katie was secretary of the Ōtaki club.