Women are holding their own at Kawerau WoodFest with many of the activities at this year's festival featuring female entrants.

The wood sculpting competition Woodbugs has three women artists participating, Kiwi chainsaw carvers Claire Sadler, Trisha Fisk and Susan Dinkelacker are showcasing their work for the first time, and there's an all-female team entered in the truck pull event.

Event director Amy Hayes said it was fantastic this year's event had attracted such a strong female showing.

"Wood-related activities are traditionally male-dominated, so to have so many women involved this year – particularly in Woodbugs – demonstrates the inclusive nature of WoodFest. It also shows the changing face of the wood-art industry."

Sadler said there are increasing numbers of women carving and there was a shift happening in the gender balance.


"Organisations are being more proactive and making it less intimidating to be a female in what has been a male-dominated field."

Fisk and Dinkelacker said handling a chainsaw was outside most women's comfort zones but they've never let that stop them.

Hayes said WoodFest gave women a chance to compete with men on an even playing field.

"We encourage all women wood carvers to get involved."

Kawerau WoodFest runs on September 29 and 30 and includes a BMX Freestyle show, the Hubbard Contracting FMX Pro show, wood-chopping, and chainsaw pro-logging races.

All are free to spectators.

The event runs alongside the National Woodskills Competition, New Zealand's premier festival celebrating all things wood, which showcases carvers and wood-turners from around Australasia.

More details at www.kaweraunz.com/events/major-events/woodfest.