Chief Executive  Dr Jon Tanner 

Jon TannerJon Tanner has spent the last 20 years working in primary industry in New Zealand, Asia, Africa and Europe.  Originally from a farming background, Jon has experience as a science manager, director of public policy and as a CEO of primary industry bodies.  He was formerly CEO of New Zealand’s organic sector body and International Director at the NZ Ministry of Research, Science and Technology.  Prior to that, he was Land Policy Manager with the UK’s Environment Agency and a Rural Advisor with the UK Department for International Development before taking on the role of WPMA Chief Executive Officer in August 2010.

Dr Tanner has considerable experience of working on sustainable land use around the world. He has advised land managers, firms and governments on technologies, practices and policies to improve the economic, social and environmental performance of primary industry. 

Jon’s interests lie in enhancing the ability of sectors to add value to commodity products and to grow markets.  He believes that firmly uniting effort across the sector and harnessing new knowledge will ensure that wood processing and manufacturing continue to be a strong contributor to New Zealand’s economic performance.

Jon holds Bachelor of Science (Honours) and Master of Science (Distinction) degrees in agriculture from the University of Reading (England) and a PhD (also from Reading University) based on a study of agro-forestry systems in Southeast Asia.

Executive Assistant & Company Secretary Jeanette Sutherland  ANZIM

JeannetteJeanette Sutherland is an experienced Executive Assistant and an Associate Member of the New Zealand Institute of Management.  Prior to entering the corporate world Jeanette achieved significant knowledge through involvement in both medicine and medical Practice Management. Jeanette is skilled in Professional Responsibility, Health Care Management, Interpersonal and Interprofessional Relationships, Forecasting, Analysis of Corporate Business Performance along with Strategic Planning.

As well as being the Executive Assistant to the CEO Jeanette also holds the position of Company Secretary for WPMA and also supporting the Wood Council of New Zealand (Woodco), providing administration and Board Governance. 




Promotions Manager Debbie Fergie


Debbie Fergie is the Promotions Manager for WPMA.  Debbie was previously employed by NZ Pine Manufacturers Association for 5 years as Executive Assistant to the CEO before the merger with Wood Processors Association. 

She has had nearly 20 years’ experience in the Woodworking Industry in both Australia and New Zealand and also project managed the construction of 2 of her houses, which gives her additional practical experience to materially assist WPMA’s goals.

Her other roles have included Administration Management, Real Estate Contracts Management and Advertising responsibilities. 

Debbie is also skilled in managing projects from conception to completion.  Her experience ensures that Promotions and Event Management facilitating has good outcomes where interaction and contributions of numerous members and sponsors are required.

Debbie’s role is to manage promotional events, conferences, websites, sponsorships and the NZ Wood Resene Timber Design Awards.

Technical Manager Jeff Parker


Jeff started at Forest Research Institute as a science technician trainee, and chose Timber Engineering as his career path. While here he gained qualifications in NZ Certificate of Forestry and NZ Certificate of Engineering (Mechanical). He also gained a QE II Study Award which enabled him to study Timber Engineering, Timber Technology and Wood Protection at the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London for 1 year. (He came top in the class).

After his grounding in test work and academia he became heavily involved in the re-invigoration of machine stress grading in the late 1980’s. Learning from msg guru’s such as Denis Grant of NSW Forestry Commission, he developed (with FRI’s electronics section) an interface which enabled msg production data to be downloaded in real time to help diagnose any machine problems, analyse yields and help timber companies make investment decisions.

He also developed an MSG QC scheme which serviced 5 sites using Plessey Computermatic msg’s, While it would not match the sophistication of the Timber Quality Scheme being implemented by WPMA, it was an important step toward today’s QC of structural timber.

Jeff was also one of the team which developed and patented a method for finger-jointing unseasoned timber. The process could be used to manufacture structural timber lengths from green chain trim offcuts, and as such the economics were appealing. FRI decided to commercialise the process, into what became known as “Greenweld®”. Jeff became Operations Manager of Greenweld Technologies Ltd. Along the way many hard lessons were learned on taking systems from laboratory to industry, and dealing with commercial entrepreneurs. The high point was reached in USA where WTD Industries set up a dedicated Greenweld® finger-jointing plant using adhesive supplied by Georgia-Pacific, to take rough sawn Douglas fir green offcuts from 12 sawmills and produce green Douglas fir structural components. The plant was certified by WWPA to produce Select Structural grade timber for horizontal use, using a 15 mm finger length!

When it became apparent that Forest Research (as it had become) intended to sell off the technology Jeff joined Fletcher Challenge Forests as Product Development Engineer. An exciting time followed as Jeff worked with teams to develop stress wave acoustic testing of stems, logs and lumber. This was in parallel to but completely independent of the work done by IRL and CHH in developing their Hitman Technology. FCF was the first company to use these technologies in commercial sorting operations. The stem acoustic tester installed in 1999 / 2000 at Kaingaroa Processing Plant is still operating.

Also at FCF Jeff helped to develop the Origin I-beam. Using msg stock to produce proof tested finger-jointed flanges which were combined with an FCF plywood web, the product was released to the NZ market in 2000. The advantage of the Origin I-beam over competing product was that it had the same depths as kiln dried structural timber sizes, so could easily be mixed and matched into other timber componentry.

In 2001 Jeff joined Carter Holt Harvey as Wood Technology Manager of the fibre-gen group. Highlights here were the development of the gamma ray density sorter (initially used for segregating fast drying and slow drying timber to improve kiln quality and reduce drying times), and the extension of the Hitman (handheld) technology into Logman (automatic log and stem testing) and Stickman (automatic stress testing of boards at a rate of 2 per second). When combined with the density sorter, the Stickman could deliver an MOE value for each stick, which could be used to direct them to their most economic end use.

In 2005 Jeff joined Lockwood Homes as Product Development Manager. Here he worked on developing bracing ratings for improved Lockwood wall systems, and was part of a team which developed the Lockwood “Superwall”. This wall system had great resilience and an insulation value of R 3.4, which almost doubles the requirements of today’s Building Code.

In 2012 Jeff joined Boral Timber as QC and Kiln Supervisor. Taking 60 days to dry hardwoods was a whole new experience!! Here he also introduced a low cost voice recognition system which enabled pack QC audits to be done quickly and effectively by a single staff member. It even worked with Australian accents!!

Jeff joined WPMA in September 2014.

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