Some towns try to hide their industrial origins when visitors come calling; they don't recognise that those very origins can be used to draw people in. Not Kawerau. In Kawerau industry is celebrated.
That's what Kawerau WoodFest and Generation Homes National Woodskills Competition is all about. The events, held every September alongside each other and this year scheduled for the weekend of September 28 and 29, are built on Kawerau's forestry history.
The Generation Homes National Woodskills Competition, New Zealand's premier festival celebrating all things wood, started in 1989. This event kicks off with the prizegiving on Thursday, September 26 and the exhibition is open to the public from Friday to Sunday, September 27 to 29.
The Generation Homes National WoodSkills competition moves to the Kawerau Town Hall in 2019 which makes for a new and central location for the event.
WoodFest followed in 2007 to add entertainment value and boost spectator numbers. It is now one of Kawerau's iconic events, attracting more than 12,000 people last year, and gives the town a fantastic opportunity to promote itself and honour its history.
The Kaingaroa Forest, near Kawerau, is the southern hemisphere's largest plantation forest. The Bay of Plenty is one of New Zealand's main forestry regions, so it's not surprising wood processing is Kawerau's biggest industry. In fact, Kawerau processes some 13 percent of New Zealand's total forestry harvest.
The town's geothermal energy makes WoodFest's high-octane activities a natural fit for Kawerau. The Kawerau district boasts the world's largest application of geothermal energy for direct industrial use.