“I’m just the logger from Eketahuna aye, but sometimes you just have to think big,” says forest management student, Byron Dewar.
“I’ve worked and managed logging crews, I’ve seen the worst accidents, studied health and safety, and that’s all led me to where I am now.
However had you said 10 years ago I would be standing here doing my diploma, I would have told you that you were joking.”
Recognised by Rotary Rotorua for his dedication and achievement as a forestry student, Byron is our Rotorua campuses’ most committed ‘distance learner’, in that he drives five hours to and from Masterton every week in order to attend class.
“I can’t thank my company, Juken New Zealand (JNL) enough. They see potential within me and are supporting me through two years of study by paying for my accommodation, my travel - they even give me a ute to drive back and forth in.”
Happily bonded to JNL for two years after graduation in return for the opportunity, the second generation logger is already looking forward to the idea of returning to study at degree level in future.
“I am living proof that you are never too old to learn. I’m 43 now, however my father didn’t want me to go into forestry. Although he told me if I did go into harvesting to go big and reach for the skies. So I’m doing it and I’m achieving.”
Thanking his tutors for ther support, Byron pauses to highlight his gratefulness to his biggest fan.
“My wife has been amazingly supportive. I’ve got a lifestyle block, so she’s the one that has to look after the sheep, ducks and dogs when I’m gone. By keeping focussed on that big picture, I’ve gone from the bushman in high vis to the bushman in slacks – and I am enjoying the hours a lot better!”