Reports

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Footsteps, yarns and little fibs


Newspaper interviews are often written up wrong.

Submitted: October 10, 2017

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Submitted: October 10, 2017

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Have you been interviewed by a newspaper reporter? If so have you noticed that when you give an interview, they often get it wrong? In the end, I asked to proofread details I had given because there were so many errors. But to be fair, my speech is a little lazy, so perhaps I’m partly to blame. I might say, ‘The kids were firing a twenty two.’ So that’s what was reported, but I meant a .22 calibre rifle. And firearms ‘experts’ then wrote to the paper criticising me for being imprecise and confusing. Like any industry, foresters and nurserymen have their own jargon. ‘We’re planting sixteen hundred spa this season.’ Spa means, stems per acre. The article read, ‘The forest is planting 1600 acres this season.’ It was more like two hundred acres. They were not much on zeros either. ‘This season we have eight million Douglas fir seedlings to be lifted.’  The report says, ‘The nursery has 80,000 Douglas Fir to be picked up.’ Maybe I’m picky I but when writing a botanical name, the genera has a capital letter and the species a lower case – the same for common names. ‘Lifting’ means harvesting, digging up from the nursery bed – not ‘picking up’. Maybe I would have been a bugger to interview!

The forest was in a buildup phase, with a lot going on. As well there was high unemployment, so to cope with our pressure and as a directive from government, we took on extra workers. Many became unemployed during the winter months because their work was seasonal, summertime work, so we were able to utilize them in our planting operations. There was an element of politics too. As well, for the first time in a financial year, our logging/ harvesting revenue, would exceed one million dollars. So the newspapers followed us.

As an aside, and part of our corporate responsibility, we were wanting to create an amenity area on the river terrace below our headquarters site. Old Bert had a horse-drawn mower that while it may not have come out of the Ark, it hadn’t cut a blade of grass for the best part of three quarters of a century! He reckoned he could tinker with it and have it going after the weekend. Well, after a couple of rounds of the paddock the old mower fell to pieces and we had to make alternative arrangements.

Bert collected most of his mower parts but obviously not all of them. A week or two later I was down on the terrace, showing a contractor what we wanted him to do when I cut my boot on one of Bert’s broken blades. After I swore, I collected up more parts lying there and sat them beside a strainer post for Bert to collect sometime. I went into Jack’s office and showed him my boot and told him I had found some more mower parts.

Albert, the forest clerk was sitting at his desk, talking to the pay clerk who had brought wages up from Dunedin. But Albert could multi-task and listen in as well as conversing! The next morning a newspaper reporter rang. Jack and I were out on our rounds so Albert took the call. He usually didn’t like to be quoted in the paper and told reporters to wait for me because that was part of my role. But this time, he had juicy news!

Next morning there were headlines: ‘Forestry worker finds Moa bones!’


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