Our People

Our point of difference is our people. FMNZ have experienced staff with over 250 years combined forest management experience. They work well together as a team and over the years have developed a loyalty and trust which motivates them to achieve consistently high standards in their workplace. We are proud of our staff and their achievements.

Staff are encouraged to take advantage of training opportunities to broaden or develop their skill base and that are pertinent to their day to day work. Some of the courses and certificates they have achieved include:

  • National Certificate in Forest Establishment
  • National Certificate in Silvicultural Pruning
  • National Certificate in Silvicultural Thinning
  • National Certificates in Forest Harvesting
  • National Certificates in Harvest Planning and Road Engineering
  • Forest Health Certificates
  • Certificate in Marketing
  • First Aid Certificates
  • FITEC Assessor
  • Growsafe Approved Handlers Certificate
  • Controlled Substances License
  • Firearms License
  • 4 wheel drive and ATV Certificates
  • Firefighting Fire and Rescue Courses
  • Level 3 and Level 4 Occupational Health and Safety

Good communication is important in maintaining a happy and productive
working environment.


Steve Bell – Joint CEO / Forest Manager

Steve Bell, our Forest Manager has over 26 years' experience in forest operations and has worked for the company since 1992. He lives in Napier with his wife and two sons and enjoys an active outdoor lifestyle.

Steve is responsible for the day to day management covering financial planning / budgeting, land preparation, forest establishment, tending operations, inventory, human resources and public relations. He puts a high emphasis on transparency and maintaining good client communications. Steve is involved with all forest operations in Gisborne, Wairoa, Napier, Wanganui and Otago.

“I have always believed good forest management comes from a sound practical background with a hands on approach and a can do attitude. Forest ownership is a long term investment, you get one chance to get it right."


Sally Sisson - Joint CEO / Forest Administration Manager

Sally is the Forest Administration Manager and has worked for the Company since May 1994 out of our Waverley office.

She is responsible for the day to day management and administration of the company and has a sound knowledge of the developing carbon forestry opportunities and markets as well as the rules that pertain to forestry and ETS. Sally is a strategic planner, a manager, a record keeper, a communicator, a financial planner and is almost as versatile as trees themselves. She is a practical person and describes herself as a “virtual forester”. Her background is banking/finance/systems management and she also maintains a strong connection with her rural roots through her lifestyle farm and her own forest interests.

“I have always been fascinated by trees, their architecture and engineering appeals to me. They are such balanced structures. Trees meet so many human needs as well as being a vital part of a healthy environment. We should be planting more of them.”

Nathan Wallace – Assistant Forest Manager

Nathan has worked for the company for over 21 years and is based out of Gisborne. He is married with two children and has an active lifestyle from being a Senior Fire Fighter as a volunteer for the New Zealand Fire Service, to being the president of the Gisborne Motorcycle Sports Club, in which the whole family rides.

Nathan is responsible for the day to day running of our Gisborne/Wairoa area which consists of budgeting, land preparation, forest establishment and good public relations.

Nathan has a sound knowledge base of forest establishment and silviculture tending, holding National certificates in these. He is now is moving towards up skilling himself in the harvesting and roading sector which is where the company is heading. Nathan is building his knowledge daily on the Emission Trading Scheme as this is the way forestry is heading.

“I am a hands on person with excellent work ethics and believe in doing it once and doing it right.”

Rory Bennison – Land Information and Technical Forester

Rory first started working for FMNZ as an Assistant Forest supervisor in May 2000, this involved carrying out quality control plots behind the contractors and general forest visits. .  He is married with two boys and enjoys living in Hawkes Bay.

Rory is responsible for the FMNZ land information system and carries out ETS mapping, shapefile creation for clients, forest mapping and anything with a technical nature. Rory is also involved with developing FMNZ systems and procedures.

Rory believes having a good mix of practical and theoretical skills helps in making sound decisions in the field and office. While working for FMNZ he has completed a National Diploma in Forestry (Forest Management), as well as NZQA certificates in establishment and Silviculture and Harvest Planning.

"The forest industry is more than growing trees and logging them. I enjoy the diverse opportunities it offers with no two days being the same.  I would recommend a career in forestry to anyone considering it."

Daniel Murdie – Forest Supervisor

Daniel completed a Bachelor of Engineering (Forestry), with Honours, from Canterbury University in 2001, and has worked for FMNZ since April 2002, completing numerous NZQA certificates over that time.

He is the Forest Supervisor based out of the Gisborne office, and is responsible for the field quality control and supervision of silvicultural operations, monitoring forest health, carrying out safety audits on all contractors, collecting forest data, and any other duties as required.

“In a field orientated roll, a combination of practical experience and theoretical knowledge becomes important”, says Daniel, and with his theoretical engineering background, and a passion for off road driving and adrenalin sports, the transition into the developing roading and harvesting sector makes an enjoyable and rewarding experience."

Roxane Price – Harvest Administrator

Roxane (Rox) joined the FMNZ team in September 2013 after having previously worked in clerical and customer service roles in both Napier and Havelock North.  Rox has a widespread background ranging from Fine Arts to Applied Business and Information Science.  She has a NZ Diploma in Business and is very enthusiastic about applying her varied experience to the forestry sector. 

As the Harvest Administrator no two days are the same, Rox enjoys the unique challenges the role brings.  Her time is focused on data entry, processing harvest invoices and docket reconciliation of harvest operations.
Outside of work Rox actively competes in artistic skating and enjoys spending time with her husband.

“One of my favourite sayings is: ‘perfection is a lot of little things done well’. I believe attention to detail and a caring attitude makes all the difference in a customer focused role.”


Ian Bell - Woodflow & Marketing

Ian is married with two children. He enjoys spending time with his family, is keen on the outdoors and projects around home.

During Ian’s forestry career he has worked for Rayonier, Carter Holt Harvey, and as a Director of Woodmetrics in varied roles from establishment to Harvesting and Marketing of woodlots including a period consulting in Indonesia.

Ian is based in the Napier office where he is responsible for marketing. This includes weekly cut-cards, woodflow forecasts and monitoring, and liaising with our domestic and export clients. He is also involved in other parts of our business as required.

“The Forest Industry is in a period of dynamic change; we are responsible to manage this change for the best outcomes for clients and the community."

Jason Osborn - West Coast Operations Manager

Jason is married with three young children. He enjoys spending time with his family and is keen on the outdoors, especially pig hunting and enjoys fishing for Snapper in the summer. He also enjoys listening to music and a bit of DIY.

Jason’s forestry career first started when he pruned trees in his school holidays, over 26 years ago, he has a New Zealand Certificate in Forestry, a National Certificate in Log Making and a number of logging and log scaling modules. Jason has worked as a silvicultural supervisor, ran his own silvicultural gang and logged extensively both in cable and ground based operations.

Jason joined us in June 2011 as a Forest Supervisor based in Napier where he was responsible for the supervision and quality control of contractors alongside the care and maintenance of forests under FMNZ management.  In October 2016 he was promoted to West Coast Operations Manager and is now based at the FMNZ Waverley Office in Whanganui where he manages all of the West Coast operations.

“Forestry by its nature is a long term but a constantly changing industry. I believe that it is important to maintain a practical outlook, be flexible enough to adapt to this changing environment and deliver the best results we can, because decisions taken now have long term consequences”


Paul van der Voort - Harvest Manager

Paul has been involved with the harvesting aspects of the Forest Industry since 1985. His involvement has been with all aspects of harvesting in many different regions both North and South Island. His knowledge and experience in forest engineering and specific road design for logging trucks has allowed harvesting to occur in marginal areas, and has extensive knowledge for cable harvesting operations supports the harvest planning of first rotation forests. His more recent passion covers forest logistics, transport operations with multi modal transport coupled into port operations.

Paul holds a Master’s in Business Administration, completed in 2000, and a NZ Certificate in Forestry. Both qualifications provide the basis of an analytical platform to develop solutions to most technical issues confronting the harvesting industry today.

Paul’s interests outside work include his family and friends, he competes at shooting competitions, and is a keen hunting and outdoor activities person in the nearby Hawkes Bay ranges.

"For me, forestry has been a lifetime of enjoyment, I am still very passionate about the industry, the people who work within it and what it has to offer."

Nadine Valentine – Napier Office Receptionist / Administration

Nadine joined the FMNZ team’s Napier office in August 2016 as Receptionist / Administration.  Her background is in administration and early childcare and she is enjoying learning about the forestry industry.  Nadine’s responsibilities are welcoming visitors, issuing forest permits along with other general administrative duties.

Nadine lives in Napier and her interests outside of work include spending time with family and friends, participating in sports and she is passionate about the ocean and outdoors.

"I personally believe working collaboratively as a team is paramount to the success of a company."

Richard Airey – Forest Supervisor

Richard joined the FMNZ team in October 2016 as Assistant Forest Supervisor. Richard has a Bachelor of Applied Science, majoring in Natural Resource Management and a diverse work history based around environmental management, silviculture and forest establishment.

Richard lives in Napier with his wife and young family. He is an enthusiastic, reliable person who enjoys a challenge and is passionate about the outdoors.

"I am committed to safety and believe attitude is everything."

Michelle Ibbotson - Health & Safety and Compliance Coordinator

Michelle Ibbotson joined the Company in March 2017 as Health & Safety and Compliance Coordinator.  Michelle spent a decade logging in and around Hawkes Bay, ticketed in Breaking Out, Manuel Processing and Log Making, she understands first-hand the daily risks forestry workers face and the importance of having systems in place to manage those risks.  Her industry experience combined with a keen interest in this sector has led to this next step in her forestry career.

Michelle lives in Hawkes Bay with her partner and two children. Spending time with friends and family is a priority outside of work, she also loves mountain biking, studying, photography, dancing and spending all day at the beach in summer.

“I am passionate about Health and Safety, working together with our contractors combining all of our industry experience and knowledge, I believe real change can be achieved.”

Sam Scott - Harvest Coordinator

Sam started working with FMNZ as Harvest Coordinator in February 2017.  He has a Diploma in Forest Operations Management from the Waiariki Institute of Technology and has worked with several Harvesting contractor crews over several years.  Sam has lived in Hawkes Bay for 20 years and enjoys the region and all the outdoor activities it has to offer.

Sam is responsible for the day to day harvesting operations management as well as being involved with Harvest Planning and Roading Operations Management.

 “I believe that Practical thinking, a ‘can do’ attitude and team work plays a large part in any successful company.”

Matt Doyle - Forest Supervisor

Matt Doyle joined the Napier team in May 2017 as Forest Supervisor.  Matt has a Bachelor of Forestry Science and has worked as a Forest Planner in Gisborne, Ireland and as a contract forester in the Lower North Island.

Matt lives in Napier with his wife, Emma and enjoys involvement in sport, travel and music.

It’s exciting to be a part of an industry that is rapidly expanding within New Zealand and internationally.  The opportunities within forestry in the years to come will be endless”.

Lena Gibbs - Waverley Admin / ETS Administrator

Lena joined the FMNZ team in May 2017 and is based in the Waverley office.  Lena had 2½ years’ experience working at RDNZ before leaving to raise her young family.  Given her knowledge of the accounting software used by FMNZ and her background knowledge of the forests FMNZ manages, it has made it easy for her to slip into the role.  Lena’s role is accounts payable, bank reconciliation, data entry, cashflow reporting and ETS administration.  Lena enjoys the variability that the job offers as no day is the same.

Lena comes from a rural background and lives on a dairy grazing farm with her husband and two children who are now 6th generation farmers.  She enjoys a good laugh, cooking, travelling and even has her own small sewing business that she runs from home.

“Forestry is an exciting industry to be a part of, I am pleased I was offered the role as it has been a welcome challenge.”

Fraser Cunningham - GIS Technician

Fraser joined the FMNZ team in November 2017 as the company GIS Technician.  He comes from the mineral industry, where he worked as an exploration geologist in Western Australia and New Zealand.

Fraser will be assisting the team with the day to day field mapping and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) tasks.

Fraser’s interests outside work includes spending time with his family and friends and loves to spend time in the outdoors hunting and fishing. 

“The kind of people that all teams need are people who are humble and hungry: humble being little ego, focusing more on their teammates than on themselves. Hungry, meaning they have a strong work ethic, are determined to get things done, and contribute any way they can”

Jade Phillips - Assistant Harvest Supervisor

Jade joined the FMNZ Napier team in November 2017 as Assistant Harvest Supervisor. Jade has spent four years in Canterbury completing a Bachelor of Forestry Science and is now expanding his skills in the harvesting and roading sectors.

Jade grew up in Gisborne and outside of work he enjoys hunting, fishing and photography.

“I enjoy the challenges that forestry has to offer, and my passion for the outdoors makes it even more enjoyable.”

Luke Williams - Assistant Harvest Supervisor

Luke joined the FMNZ Napier team in January 2018. Luke has a background in silviculture and harvesting and has completed a Diploma in Forest Operations Management at Toi-Ohomai Institute of Technology in Rotorua.

Luke was brought up in South Canterbury and made the move to Hawkes Bay after some time away travelling. Luke enjoys an active outdoor lifestyle of mountain biking, hiking and exploring regional history.

“Looking towards the future, it is exciting to be working in the forestry industry as strong growth is taking place along with positive changes.”

Mark Roper - Environmental Forester & Principal Ecologist

Mark is married with 2 children and his hobbies include hunting and fishing.

Mark has worked around the world in the scientific research and environmental consulting industries. He has been involved in a number of large infrastructure projects and was Project Ecologist for the Transmission Gully Motorway north of Wellington.

Mark’s role is ensuring that best environmental practices are implemented at an operational level, this requires working closely with the operational team and contractor base to ensure compliance with local and national environmental regulations and industry best practices (NZ Environmental Code of Practice for Plantation Forestry (E-CoP) and the National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry (NES-PF)).

“New Zealand’s planted forests contain almost 25,000 km of streams. I am committed to ensuring the positive effects of forestry, particularly on the ecological functionality of aquatic ecosystems, are optimised for future generations of New Zealanders.”

Ants Bowden – Assistant Forest Supervisor

Ants lives in Gisborne and is married with two children. In his spare time, he likes to spend time with his family, the outdoors, surfing and hunting. He was brought up in Waihirere and has a real affinity for the region and outdoors.

Ants has previous experience in pruning, plotting and forest inventory. He enjoys working in the forestry industry and looks forward to the exciting and challenging times the industry brings.

“I believe in standing by your word and delivering what you say you’re going to deliver.”

The friendly FMNZ staff knew exactly what I was looking for from the get go and answered any questions I had in detail. Their excellent service exceeded my expectations and made the whole experience extremely worthwhile. Click here for more testimonials

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