Women in Forestry is a grassroots network of women working in the New Zealand forestry industry. We have a focus on supporting female business owners, who are often under immense pressure running their businesses. We started informally in the 2010's and have grown to offer more tailored, formalised support in recent years, with plans to introduce a paid membership subscription in the near future.

For Women By Women

How it all started

A few years back, Forestry Accountant Sonya Elmiger from Blackburne Group Chartered Accountants (Taupo) had the idea to connect women in the forestry industry through a newsletter. The newsletter grew in popularity, with more and more women in the industry coming forward and giving feedback that there was a need for this kind of support for the women of forestry.

At the same time, Sarah Davis (now Davidson) was working in her family forestry business R F Davis Logging, building up her knowledge and experience and learning the ropes from her logging Dad Ross Davis. Sarah lives and breathes forestry and is a strong advocate for the important role women play in running their businesses.

The need grows

Sarah and Sonya were already connected through the industry, and both could see there was a need for more female support, particularly for business owners where they are often the silent achievers keeping things running smoothly behind the scenes.

So, Sarah took the reins and organised the first Women in Forestry event, held in Rotorua in 2017, with about 30 women in attendance. Kim Godfrey then stepped in to help Sarah Davidson coordinate the network with day to day operations, and a follow up event in Napier held in 2018 attracted similar numbers, and the group discussed future plans including how we could stay connected.

The Present Day

The Women in Forestry Network is currently formalising to take us to the next level. An e-newsletter, Facebook page and website have been introduced to keep members updated regularly, and more work is going on behind the scenes to offer more support for women in the future.

This includes:

  • Formalising a Women in Forestry advisory board of 5-6 key members
  • Securing a mentor – Hilary Webber – a founding member and inaugural Chair of the Dairy Women’s Network
  • Exploring funding avenues for the Network to cover operational costs
  • Developing our support package for women including exploring training options
  • Planning future events for our members to connect

Myths Busted

You are equal partners in your businesses - you take on the same amount of risk and stress as the other directors of your company (like your husbands/partners). That's why we create networking opportunities, so that you can meet like-minded women who understand your challenges. 

The roles you do are important, and you often keep things running smoothly behind the scenes, while juggling other responsibilities and commitments. You're skilled at what you do. We're focused on creating learning opportunities tailored to you, so that you can develop professionally and feel confident and supported in your role.  

We believe as women we bring a different perspective to things, and it's important to have that balance of view point. That's why Women in Forestry is a network for women facilitated by women, who understand your role and your challenges. We're working hard to advocate at an industry level and be your collective voice.  

What Do We Offer?

We aim to provide support to our members in the following ways:

  • Opportunities to connect face-to-face through events
  • Opportunities to connect digitally through emails, social media
  • Knowledge share through profile stories, tips and tricks and resources
  • Professional development through guest speakers, future training opportunities
  • Advocacy for women and the issues concerning the wider industry
  • Representation of women ‘at the table’ in key industry groups


Sarah Davidson

Chair, Women in Forestry
Office Manager, Log Lease (Whangamata) / Director, Frank Communication (Te Awamutu)

Sarah Davidson is a founding member of Women in Forestry. Her company Frank Communication manages the day to day running of the network, also providing office management and marketing services to other clients predominantly based in the Waikato.  

Sarah has worked in logging since leaving school and is currently the Manager of her family business Log Lease, that specialises in leasing and sale of forestry equipment. 

She previously worked in her family harvesting businesses R F Davis Logging, building up her knowledge and experience in the industry and learning the ropes from her logging Dad Ross Davis. 

Sarah is a strong advocate for the important role women play in running their forestry businesses. She could see there was a need for more female support in the industry, particularly for business owners where they are often the silent achievers keeping things running smoothly behind the scenes. 
So, in 2017 she organised the first Women in Forestry event, held in Rotorua with about 30 women in attendance. Since then the Women in Forestry Network has grown and continues to attract more women in the industry. 

Julie Yeoman

Board Member, Women in Forestry
Director, Volcanic Plateau Logging (Taupo)  

Julie works alongside her husband Steven Yeoman, running their logging business in Taupo. For the past ten years, Julie has been actively involved, running the office and supporting Steven in coordinating their logging operations. 

“I am grateful for the flexibility my role has given me, as the primary caregiver for our 3 children and general household organiser,” says Julie.  
Previously, Julie established a pizza business in Taupo and prior to that worked in corporate marketing, having completed a law and double major arts degree at Canterbury University. 
Julie also has ten years of experience in governance in the education sector and has spent the last 7 years as Board Chair, first at primary then secondary school level.
Joining the Women in Forestry Board, Julie brings professionalism and energy to the role. She is eager to give women a voice in the forestry sector and to provide an environment where women can come together to support one another in their roles.

Erika Herries

Board Member, Women in Forestry 
Director, Lumberjack Logging (Gisborne)

Erika is a Director of Lumberjack Logging, working with husband Dan out of Gisborne / East Coast. Lumberjack Logging runs one crew with a 70ft tower hauler, and Erica runs the office and takes the lead on Health and Safety.
“I get to work with my husband, have flexibility to do more with the kids than a regular 9-5 job.” 

Being a part of Women in Forestry has helped her to meet other ladies who are in the same boat. She brings youthful energy and enthusiasm to the Women in Forestry Advisory Board as one of our members. 

“Being able to discuss things that men often don't like to discuss has been really valuable. It’s also great to come together and realise how important we are to our businesses.”
“Be prepared to share your husband’s stresses and worries and support him while inwardly stressing yourself! That's why Women in Forestry is so valuable.” 

Sarah Wilson

Board Member, Women in Forestry
Director, Mahuta Logging (Ngatea)

Sarah works alongside her husband Hayden, running their logging business Mahuta Logging which operates a swing yarder crew in the Ngatea / Hauraki area. 

Sarah holds a Bachelor of Applied Science from Massey University, and previously worked as a rural bank manager for ANZ. 

With a strong background in finance underpinning her decision making, Sarah is keen to put her skills and experience to use, joining the Women in Forestry Board in 2020. 

As well as logging, she also helps run her parent’s dairy farm, milking 200-odd cows in the Ngatea area, all while juggling their family of three young kids under five.

“One major difference between farming and forestry is that everyday matters in logging,” she laughs.

“There’s a bit more flexibility with farming but with logging, if you’re not working you really notice.”

Kristy Kewene

Board Member, Women in Forestry
Director, Kewene Contracts (Whangarei) and Chartered Accountant, Blackburne Group

Kristy Kewene is a qualified Chartered Accountant at forestry accounting specialists Blackburne Group. Based in Whangarei, Kristy works with a range of clients and industry specialists. She has worked in various accountancy roles for the past 30 years, with the past 15 as a Chartered Accountant.   

Coming from a forestry family, Kristy married a forestry contractor and owns Kewene Contracts with her husband Brett.
Kewene Contracts runs an establishment and silviculture business in Northland, with 2-3 crews depending on the season. They also previously operated a ground-based motor Manual logging crew.
Kristy has regularly advocated for the industry, being part of the original TAG for Contractor Certification and participating the SAG (Silviculture Action Group) who focus on recruitment, recognition and reward in silviculture.
Kristy also serves on the Board of the Blomfield Special School in Whangarei as parent representative and treasurer, where her son James attends.
This unique blend of accountancy, finance, advocacy and governance experience, combined with practical forestry contracting knowledge, makes Kristy a super-star when it comes to understanding the industry.
“I hope to use my experience and knowledge to benefit Women in Forestry. We play a key role in the industry, and I’m pleased to be involved where I can.”

Juliette Allan

Board Member, Women in Forestry
Director, Allen Logging Limited (Wairarapa) 

Juliette owns Allen Logging with her husband Mike. Based in the Wairarapa, the couple has a 4-man crew working in woodlots. She comes from a background in finance and holds an Agricultural Finance degree from Massey University. 

She does the books for Allen Logging, rears sheep and beef, does the books for her family farm, and is a mum to two young children. Whilst on maternity leave Juliette has also worked in the bush as a QC, allowing her to get a better understanding of harvesting and getting to know the crew. 

Joining the Women in Forestry board, Juliette enjoys meeting other Women in Forestry, hearing some of the stories and challenges and learning more about the industry. She is keen to help other women who are facing similar challenges in the industry celebrate the wins with one another too!


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