Business Central December 2021

30 | Rangitikei: Hautapu Pine Products REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT ‘Can-do approach’ shines Ther firm supplies over 100 rural and building supply stores from Auckland to Christchurch. Proudly associated with Hautapu Pine Products • Resource Consents and Consultation • Assessment of Environmental E ects • Planning &Water Resources Advice & Solutions • Iwi Partnerships • Risk Assessment &Management “She’ll be right Trev” (and it was) You don’t know how lucky you are when you use … | Taihape 06 388 0860 | Taupo 07 378 7150 Business Accounting • Estates & Trusts • Taxation 0800 388 111 ∙ Body Corporates ∙ Employee Schemes ∙ Personal Risk ∙ Key Personal Cover ∙ Personal Risk We’ve Got You Covered. ∙ Commercial ∙ Forestry ∙ Fleet ∙ Farm T Richard Loader F rom chainsaw and axe, over nearly sixty years Taihape based Hautapu Pine has evolved as a specialist producer of fence posts, poles and house piles, supplying over 100 rural and building supply stores from Auckland to Christchurch. The business was founded by Trevor Benson, a hard working young man with his sleeves rolled up and the classic Kiwi ‘can-do’ spirit. Invited by farmers to cut down their trees, Trevor would arrive with his portable batten mill with the battens either given to the farmer or on-sold. In 1972 an old abattoir became a perma- nent base for the batten mill where logs were also manually peeled into posts until a mecha- nised peeler was purchased a decade later. Hautapu Pine moved to its current location in Taihape in the late ‘80s and has continued to evolve and grow. Now employing a team of 55, the business operation includes the mill business and three forestry crews — one of which works in the company’s own forest at Apiti. Today Trevor’s daughter, Susan, and two sons Mark and Chris manage the business but at 79 years young, Trevor is still actively involved in his business and enjoys spending his time managing Apiti Forest, preferably inside a digger. Processing around 4500 tonnes of logs per month, Hautapu Pine’s core markets for posts are agriculture and horticulture. “In the horticulture sector we’re very busy supplying apple and kiwifruit orchard develop- ments,” says Susan. “We supply the posts for the structures for the trees and vines. The orchard develop- ments also purchase poles to support the net structures over the trees and vines. Poles are also used in the construction industry for rural sheds, retaining walls, and for house piles especially in the Waikato region.” Susan says that while freight is a big cost factor of its products, the efficiency of the mill enables the company to be competitive in the regions. Reflecting back on the last six decades of operation, Susan says her father was always looking for opportunities to grow and try something new. “You have to be prepared to invest in new plant otherwise you don’t keep up with the market and nor do you keep up with the increasing demands of regulations.” A key milestone in the business was in 1992 when the first steaming tube was installed, reducing the time from peeling to treatment to one to two weeks, from the six weeks to six months under the old air-drying system. “We now have three steaming tubes and wish we had four, which we will get eventually. In the next eighteen months we’re installing a wood waste burning boiler from Denmark which will enable us to burn our own peelings rather than coal to generate the steam for the steamers.”