Ken Rangitutia (aka 'Ken Te Kaumātua')

Iwi: Raukawa
Te Maunga: Wharaepuhunga
Te Awa: Waipa
Te Marae: Autearoa

Crew: Pakiri Logging Ltd

Ken was nominated for the safety profile by PF Olsen staff because of his excellent attitude towards health and safety. He has consistently met and exceeded the safety requirements in the tasks he undertakes through his words and actions.

I spoke with Ken on a rainy day on a high plateau outside Auckland. We talked about training and safety, how do we keep good people in the industry and keep them safe. He spoke highly of his crew and his bosses.

"It's the family-based work ethic," he said "where you have each other's back and are not afraid to speak out. If there is a good working environment and not too much financial pressure, people will stay."

Ken has been in the industry since 1989 and has worked in a number of roles from tree felling to his current role of loader driver, which suits him because from his position he is able to watch over the crew which is something he's been doing for some time. He was a forestry tutor at Papatoa and is still involved in youth training. A lot of his students are still in the industry and he keeps a watchful eye on them. He believes that if they show passion and are helped they will stay.

His own motivation to stay safe: "that's my daughter, we all have family we come to work together, and we care for the rest of the crew, and their whanau, I have to go home to her"

"Why Forestry Ken?"

"It's the outdoors; my grandfather was a farmer and bushman and my father was in forestry before the army. My own teacher is still in forestry, he's my mentor."

There is a pattern here - Ken has felt the value of a mentor and he passes that on with the work he has done with youth, and his crew.

"What advice do you have for others around safety?"

"Be true to yourself and others, don't be afraid to speak out," Ken replies.

He then goes on to praise the rest of the crew and his boss, but I ask him more questions on safety.

"There can never be enough safety. Policies can be hoha (boring) but it's what happens on the site that's important. No-one hesitates to speak to a family member when they are doing something unsafe, so the same feeling should exist in the crew. When there is that same dynamic in the workplace and communication is good, things get done".

Things do get done at Pakiri. Ken drives the loader from where he can watch over the rest of the crew. He can keep the site organised and oversee the safe loading of trucks.

Overheard on RT

"Stay on that side brother - then I know where you are"
"Be safe bro see you tomorrow"


'Ken Te Kaumātua', who was more concerned the crew name was in shot than how he looked.