Kristy Ready for the Challenge

Qualified Chartered Accountant and Northland Contractor Kristy Kewene has joined the Women in Forestry Board, bringing a raft of governance and finance experience underpinned by practical contracting knowledge to the role. In this blog, we get to know the understated but highly competent Kristy a little better.

Kristy Kewene has spent most of her life around forestry. Coming from a forestry family and marrying a forestry contractor, she laughs she says she “just followed the trees.” 

Born on the West Coast of the South Island, Kristy grew up in Northland and has lived in many towns throughout New Zealand. She says her upbringing has given her an appreciation for small town communities and primary industry.
“Regional New Zealand is the backbone of our New Zealand economy, and I have a real appreciation for the hard work and commitment that goes into owning businesses in the primary industries,” she says. 
Kristy works as a forestry accountant at Blackburne Group, based in Whangarei. In the role for the past eleven years, she has spent the last 30 years working in several accounting roles, the last fifteen as a Chartered Accountant.

Kristy has successfully juggled her accountancy career with family commitments throughout the years.

“I am now a grandmother to our delightful, scrumptious granddaughter Ruby – Naomi, her Mum, is all grown up at 25,” says Kristy.

“Our son James is 20 and will forever be our baby, as he has high and complex special needs. I’ve been on the Board of Trustees at Blomfield Special School in Whangarei as parent representative and treasurer for about 9 years,” says Kristy.

“I spend quite a bit of time navigating the health system to try get the help and care James is entitled too. I often feel like the invisible minority bashing on doors.”

As if that’s not enough to keep her busy, Kristy also 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 in the SAG (Silviculture Action Group) who focus on recruitment, recognition and reward in silviculture.

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.

Sarah Davis, Women in Forestry Chair, says it’s the reason Kristy has joined the Women in Forestry Board.

“Kristy has been an active member of Women in Forestry since it’s inception. She is extremely humble and understated in her approach, but when she speaks, she often impresses with her in-depth knowledge and understanding of the challenges of working in forestry,” says Sarah.   

“We’re very excited to have her join the Women in Forestry Board, providing governance and financial expertise and helping us build credibility and trust with our key stakeholders.”

Kristy adds that she hopes to make a difference to Women in Forestry.

“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.”


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