A Legacy of Passion for the Furniture Industry

Published: Tue 27 Aug 2013 10:22 AM
A Legacy of Passion for the Furniture Industry
In recognition of a well-respected master of the furniture industry, Ernie Jelinek's name will live on through future training awards at Competenz. For the winner of the ‘Trainee of the Year – Furniture’ they will receive the ‘Ernie Jelinek’ trophy which will be presented at next month's national training awards in Rotorua.
Ernie arrived in New Zealand in 1957 as an immigrant of Austria from a small town just outside Vienna. He had a passion for furniture making and started his life in New Zealand as a young cabinetmaker in Nelson. Over the years Ernie worked in several furniture making companies in Nelson and Christchurch, finishing up in Auckland in 1970 where he established a company there called Bestwood, which was later bought by Carter Holt Harvey (CHH).  Bestwood is now a well-known and respected brand of interior wood panel products manufactured by CHH.
Ernie had this passion for furniture making and as a gesture of thanks to the industry for such a rewarding career, and to encourage young furniture trainees and apprentices to strive for excellence, he donated a trophy to the industry known as the Ernie Jelinek Cup of Excellence.
Ernie passed away last month after a period of ill health. He will be remembered with much admiration when his trophy is passed on to the next winner of the Trainee of the Year Furniture category at this year’s Forest and Wood National Training Awards in Rotorua. The trophy showcases winners dating back to 1982 so he has left a great legacy and a constant reminder of his passion for the industry.
Entries submitted to the Awards programme reflect the dedication and spirit Ernie committed to the furniture industry. Trainees spend many hours planning, creating and producing a unique piece of furniture that have to meet certain criteria based on workmanship, uniqueness and creativity, attention to detail and the background and planning of the piece. This year the judges all commented that the workmanship had never been graded as high as it was this year – a tribute to the inspiration Ernie has given to the competition.
The furniture entries are all on display until September 1 at the Home Ideas Centre, Parnell, Auckland. After this, all ten entries will move to Rotorua to be displayed in the main  foyer of the Energy Events Centre for the duration of the WoodEXPO (11 - 13 September, 2013) and the Forest and Wood Industry National Training Awards dinner.
Finalists were selected by five experienced judges from the furniture industry and the winner, who also receives the Ernie Jelinek Excellence Award, will be announced at the Awards dinner on September 13. Tickets for the Awards are available now.
Finalists of the Trainee of the Year – Furniture – sponsored by Milwaukee
Chad Butson               : Otago Furniture
Jason Michie               : Naturally Wood
Alex Rau                      : Molloy Furniture
Tickets are available on line at
Full Price         $150
Table (10)        $1350
* All ticket prices are inclusive GST

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