Forest Management NZ Ltd

Excellent team work builds a growing business

  • fmnzsally

    The team that does what it says - (left to right) Jason Osborn, Rory Bennison, Haleigh Pert, Daniel Murdie, Nathan Wallace, Sally Sisson, Sam Reweti and Steve Bell (Joint CEO).

Being in the forestry industry is the perfect fit for Sally Sisson whose fondness for trees is quite evident when she talks about her work. “I grew up on a farm so that’s where my love of trees comes from originally. I have grown them all my life,” she says.

Sally, who is Joint CEO of Forest Management New Zealand (FMNZ), is a capable multi-tasker who not only inspires her team but also enjoys being part of one.  “We have an excellent team of people most of whom have worked for us for years. We work well together, trust each other, rely on each other and we know that if someone says they’ll do something, it will be done.”

FMNZ manages 25,000 hectares of forest for 2,500 clients and plays a hands-on role at every level of the operation, whether establishing, planting, pruning, thinning, harvesting, survival, counting, or organising roading and fencing.  “We are a jack-of-all-trades operation. In this business you need to be very flexible and think on your feet. In our company we are always thinking about how we can maximise the income for our client’s forest. That’s our priority.”

FMNZ’s history goes back to 1974, when it was registered as Waverley Logging Company Ltd.   In 1999, forest and farm investment specialists, Roger Dickie Holdings Ltd purchased the business from Geoff Redington and the company name changed to FMNZ Ltd in 2002.

“Much of the forest area we manage are Roger Dickie investment forests, but we do have other private clients as well.  We’re very fortunate in that we manage all the Roger Dickie forests because it gives us a steady harvest programme going forward, which enables us to provide our contractors with ongoing work,” says Sally.

“These forests were planted between 1989 and 2000, so we can keep harvesting quite happily for the next 20 years.  Forestry is such a long-term business and it’s nice to be around at harvest time to see how it has turned out.”

FMNZ’s head office is situated in Waverley and its forests are physically managed from their offices in Napier and Gisborne.

Compliance issues make forestry an exacting industry to be in, says Sally.  “We’ve taken on an extra person, solely to help fill that compliance role. It isn’t just a matter of having a health and safety policy; it has to be a living breathing document and that’s what all our staff buy into as well as understand, promote and work hard to improve.”

Sally, who has a background in banking, finance systems and management, relocated from Auckland to Waverley to be near her elderly father in 1993.  Then Geoff Redington offered her a job. “Geoff said, ‘I need help sorting out policies and systems in our business – so please sort me out’.   I did and I haven’t stopped sorting things out since!”

FMNZ’s advisors at Moore Stephens Markhams in Waverley are Jeff Whitlock and Margaret Prince.

What Sally finds especially helpful is the fact that both Margaret and Jeff have expert knowledge of the forestry industry through their long-term association with Roger Dickie.  “They’ve grown with that niche market and both are of huge assistance to our business.  I couldn’t think of anyone else I would rather deal with.”

Sally feels fortunate to have ready access to their skills.  “We had an incident recently when Inland Revenue didn’t think they’d received one of our payments.  In the end, we discovered we were using an antiquated reference system. Moore Stephens Markhams is happy to take care of this with IRD, whereas I don’t have the time.  I let them do what they do best and that works really well.   We have a good working relationship and they make the whole thing easy.”

Away from the forestry business, Sally enjoys retreating to her 40acre property on the Patea River.

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