Otautau father and son graduating in forestry together

Son and father Bobby and Robert Baird earned their New Zealand certificate in level 4 logging.


Son and father Bobby and Robert Baird earned their New Zealand certificate in level 4 logging.

A father-son duo from Southland have shown that it pays to return to the books, even after four decades of playing.

Bobby Baird and his 65-year-old father Robert together earned their New Zealand Level 4 logging certificate with Competenz in May.

Bobby has owned Otautau-based Baird Logging for seven years and employs six people, including Robert, who has been in the industry for 40 years.

All employees completed forestry training together alongside the Bairds and received their qualifications at the Southern Wood Council Forestry Awards ceremony held in Dunedin.

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Robert had practical experience gained from four decades in the bush and said the job training included in the certificate helps keep people safe.

“When I started in the industry, there was nothing like this training. People hurt each other.

“Training and setting up courses improves safety – it helps people understand the dangers. Some of the younger ones raise their eyebrows when I tell them stories about the older ones.

Bobby said the staff process 480 to 600 tonnes of logs each day.

“They are a great crew”

“Everyone’s doing their job and I don’t have to deal with them – they know what they’re doing. “

Bobby had studied throughout his working life and said that Competenz’s Neville Mueller made the learning experience easy for everyone.

He said Robert, who was not eagerly awaiting all study-related documents, was now reconsidering his recent choice to retire after taking the course as a team.

“He’s been making a lot of noise about retirement,” he said, “but that’s really good, we’re a very close-knit team.”

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