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PRESS RELEASE - $40k raised for forestry mental health in charity auction dinner opened by new Rotorua Mayor Tania Tapsell

More than $40,000 has been raised to lead a mental health initiative for forestry at a charity auction dinner held in Rotorua on 18 November. Opened by newly appointed Rotorua Mayor Tania Tapsell, the charity auction was part of NZ’s first Fast & Forward Forestry Expo.

Brought together by the Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA), the charity auction dinner was part of the 2-day Fast and Forward Forestry Expo held last week. MC’d 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..

“Mental wellbeing is a topical challenge for any workplace in this crazy world and forestry has not escaped from it. FICA wanted to put funds together to initiate a programme to support our forestry whanau,” she says.

“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 such a 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 the Forest Industry Contractors Association 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...”