The Association has been a representative of, and forum for, commercial plantation forest growers since early in the 20th century. Then known as the Dominion Forest Owners’ Association, it was particularly active between the wars, but languished for a period post the Second World War.
The Dothistroma scare and incursion in the mid 1960s was the trigger for renewed interest in a national organisation for forest growers and for the imperative of collective action.
New life was breathed into the Association with a new set of rules registered in September 1968 and a new Executive Council comprising leaders in the industry. At that time the New Zealand Forest Service, which held more than half of New Zealand’s planted forest estate, was not a member but the Association worked very closely with NZFS in the interests of the industry, even having an NZFS representative (CGW Mason) as a member of the Executive Council. Jim Currie of NZ Forest Products was President and led the rejuvenation of the Association.
HB Martin (with AG Hall as assistant) who had been involved with other forest-based associations, e.g. the National Institute of Wood Preservers, since the 1950’s, were appointed as the Wellington office about 1967/68.
The corporatisation of NZ Forest Service in the 1980s/90s opened the way for the former state forests to come into membership.
The principal object of the Association, as per the new (1968) rules was set out as: “To promote and protect the interests of persons from time to time engaged or concerned in New Zealand in the business, trade or industry of forestry”. There followed a long and detailed list of specific activities which could be summarised as promoting the industry both in respect of the public interest and in respect of its products, lobbying within both central and local government, collective action and mutual collaboration on things like fire control and other hazards, research and to generally guard, promote and protect the rights and interests of members.
Whilst the emphasis has changed from time to time in the light of opportunities, developments and threats, current activity remains to the same intent.