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NZ tree climbing remains nondescript… for whatever reasons?

NZ tree climbing remains nondescript… for whatever reasons?

Richard Tregoweth - Wednesday, July 24, 2013

New Zealand has two world-record-holding tree climbers; Nicky Ward-Allen and James Kilpatrick and one past ITCC winner (2011 World Champion Scott Forrest - this year representing the Asia-Pacific Region) competing in next weekends world tree climbing championship in Toronto and yet there is barely a whisper of their achievements in New Zealand.

The latest edition of the NZ arb industry publication 'Tree Matters' offers one sentence of coverage for the ITCC, wishing our competing tree climbers the best of luck (thankfully Richard Wanhill did produce an excellent article covering the Treescape 2013 APTCC on page 18).

The official NZ Arb Association FaceBook page is devoid of any mention of our industrial athletes and you would have to search long and hard on the main NZ Arb website to find anything of relevance.

If industry representatives show this level of interest in our ITCC athletes we cannot expect mainstream media to do any better.

Back in 2011 when New Zealand held the world men's and women's tree climbing titles, along with two world foot lock records, the opportunity to promote tree climbing in this country, and to the world, was well and truly missed.

The NZ arb industry snoozed its way through 2011-12 while to rest of the world looked on, wondering how we managed to produce such world-class tree climbers.

Perhaps it's a cultural thing, a reflection of small nation mentality and part of the kiwi psyche - don't over-hype our athletes for fear we might jinx their performance.

Even our international competitors themselves may hope for some degree of anonymity but that does not help in the big picture.

Like it or not, businesses, commonly called sponsors, are attracted to activities with wide media appeal and the only way to achieve that is to constantly promote the sport of tree climbing and our champion climbers (made even easier when we win).

It's not surprising the wider New Zealand public has little understanding or appreciation of the exceptional skill shown by our aerial arborists on a daily basis.

The Legends Foundation website celebrating NZ tree climbing!

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