Rotorua’s recent Fast & Forward Forestry Expo raised some $40,000 to lead a mental health initiative for forestry at its charity auction dinner last month. Opened by newly appointed Rotorua Mayor Tania Tapsell, the charity auction was part of NZ’s first.
The dinner was one of the highlights of the two-day Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) expo, and was emceed by Jeremy Corbett. FICA CEO, Prue Younger, says the auction was to raise funds to further mental health initiatives post a pilot programme with Mates4Life, Hawke’s Bay.
“The aim is to provide a long-term, sustainable, no barriers suicide awareness and prevention training approach that is specific to the needs of workplaces and communities.”
Newly appointed Rotorua Mayor, Tania Tapsell, opened the evening as keynote speaker, signalling that Rotorua was open for business and supportive of this key industry in the region.
“Forestry is in our DNA, it is part of our identity. We have a strong history and legacy in forestry and wood processing that we are proud of,” she said.
“Rotorua as a top destination city has also been impacted by COVID and the ripple effects of the pandemic, but we are also a forward thinking and resilient community and working hard to recover. Events like this help us to do that. As a community we are so pleased to be able to welcome events back to Rotorua.
“The charity auction will help FICA to set up a programme to support the mental wellbeing of those working within the forestry industry. Mental health doesn’t discriminate and all of us in this room have probably either experienced mental health issues ourselves or watched a friend, relative, or colleague struggle with mental wellbeing. This is a fantastic initiative,” she added.