Are you interested in:
Plants and trees
Outdoor and physical work
Conservation and the environment
Working with tools, machinery and equipment
Managing forest operations including managing staff, contractors and budgets
Then Forestry could be for you!
Check out frontline careers in the Introduction to Forestry booklet below:
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See what real life forestry workers do in the videos below:

Future Foresters:


Harvesting & Engineering Technology:

Find your Forestry Career
Scope of Forestry


Forestry workers may do some or all of the following:

  • Prepare and maintain the ground surrounding trees

  • Plant, prune and thin trees

  • Monitor and measure the growth of trees

  • Gather aerial data about a tree crop 

  • Select and cut down trees

  • Use harvesting machinery to drag logs from the bush and remove branches from logs

  • Operate loaders to move logs into stacks or to load trucks

  • Assess log quality, and cut to size

  • Measure and grade logs

  • Maintain and repair chainsaws and equipment.

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Forestry workers need to have:

  • Knowledge of tree and timber types

  • Knowledge of tree pruning, felling, cutting and trimming methods

  • Knowledge of health and safety requirements in the forest, including first aid skills

  • Skill in operating machines and using technology such as drones

  • Chainsaw operation skills

  • Mechanical skills

  • Heavy vehicle handling skills

  • Firefighting skills.

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Forestry workers:

  • Usually work from 6am to 4pm week days, and may work on Saturdays

  • Work in forests, bush and scrubland in rural or isolated areas, and may have to travel up to an hour to their workplaces

  • Work in all weather conditions, and their working environment may be hazardous and noisy.

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Overview of Pay Rates

Pay for forestry workers varies depending on experience.

  • Entry-level workers usually earn between $40,000 and $45,000 a year.

  • Those working towards qualifications usually earn between $45,000 and $65,000. 

  • Forestry workers qualified in an area of logging, such as tree felling or machine operating to Level 3, usually earn between $65,000 and $75,000.

  • Crew managers and specialised operators may earn between $100,000 and $120,000. 

Forestry silviculture workers are usually paid on a piece-rate basis – for example, when pruning they are paid a set amount for every tree they prune.

Training & Qualifications

Entry requirements

There are no specific requirements to become a forestry and logging worker.

However, you can complete a New Zealand Certificate in Forestry Operations (Level 3) while working. This can be done as part of an apprenticeship.

Secondary education

​There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a forestry and logging worker.

However, agriculture and horticulture, construction and mechanical technologies, and maths and English are useful.   

Personal requirements

​Forestry and logging workers need to be:

  • Practical

  • Motivated and hard-working

  • Safety-conscious

  • Able to make good judgements

  • Able to work well under pressure

  • Able to work as part of a team.

Useful experience

​Useful experience for forestry and logging workers includes:

  • Timber mill work

  • Work as a volunteer firefighter

  • Experience driving heavy vehicles

  • Farm work.

Physical requirements

Forestry workers need to be reasonably fit, healthy and strong as they need to move and set up equipment on logging sites. They also need to have quick reactions, good hand-eye co-ordination and a good level of stamina.

Find out more about training





0800 526 1800


There are a number of institutions that provide forestry courses, university degrees and training programmes that are happening around New Zealand.


Check them out below: