New Zealand and World Champion axemen and woodchoppers will put their skills on show in competition this Saturday at the
Putaruru Timber Museum.
Held for the first time this year, the McKenzie and Ridley Axemen’s Carnival has attracted a ‘who’s who’ of top axemen,
including current or recent New Zealand and world title holders.
Organiser Shane Campbell says though carnival entries were originally limited to 30, interest has been so strong that
they have extended the entry list to 36.
“That’s a fantastic response from competitors in one of New Zealand’s heritage sports,” he said.
Entries include current New Zealand women’s team members Sheree Taylor (Te Aroha) and Darcell Apelu (Tauranga); current
New Zealand men’s and Stihl team members Shane and Jack Jordan (Stratford); Chris Lord (Junior Stihl rookie world
champ); Kyle Lemon (Stihl team member) and NZ under 21 team member and captain Cleaveland Cherry (Lichfield).
“We have competitors ranging from beginners through veterans and world champions. These men and women are here because
they love the challenge and excitement of the day and because they enjoy testing their fitness, stamina and accuracy
against the log,” said Mr Campbell.
The carnival showcases the physically demanding disciplines of wood- chopping and sawing in a competitive format. There
are ten events during the day, and athletes compete in the use of axes and saws.
Though this is the first time the carnival has been held, wood-chopping competitions go right back to the earliest times
of settlement and development in New Zealand. For more than a century, farmers and forestry workers have taken part in
these physically demanding events that are so typical of their work.
There is free admission for spectators and the Putaruru Museum will also offer a first chance to see its upgraded
woodsman’s hut – an insight into the life of axemen from 80 years ago or more. Registration for competitors is by 8.30
am and the day’s events get under way at 9:00.
“This will be a fun family day filled with wood-chopping action, we’re keen to see plenty of people come to the museum
and see what it is all about,” said Mr Campbell.