Home' Greymouth Star : December 6th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
8 - Saturday, December 6, 2014
of the New Zealand Herald
As a pointer towards Jason Wynyard’s wood-
chopping prospects, it was ill-starred.
His debut in the sport began as a 12-year-old
at a lively carnival in the small rural settlement
of Mamaku in the Bay of Plenty where he fell
off his log competing in the standing chop.
“My mates roped me into the event because
I was big for my age and they wanted to beat
me in the under-16 boys chop. They got what
Wynyard has been laughing since then as he
has chopped, sawn and powered to 11 world
titles, and now he and his basketball-playing
son, Tai, have been named joint winners of the
Maori sportsperson of the year.
A few years back, mum Karmyn took out
the world crosscut saw title with her husband
while teenage Tai is useful with the axe
although his size 18 feet are best suited to the
Sap runs through Wynyard’s veins. He had
the size and power to play rugby, box and
wrestle and tried them all but nothing gave
him the same rush as challenging the timber.
“Dad was keen for me to play rugby because
he had played for King Country and trialled
for the Maori All Blacks but he always needed
to work. He instilled in me that sport was the
way to go but I don’t think he meant wood-
chopping,” Wynyard recalled.
“A boxing promoter heard about me winning
some events and I had a week with him. The
training and lifestyle was awesome but as soon
as I sparred I didn’t like it, I couldn’t get it into
my head that was sport, I didn’t have the killer
instinct for it.
“I have a mean streak with wood-chopping
when I can direct my venom but not with
For most of us, memories of wood-chopping
are connected to travelling sideshows and
watching huge men clad in black singlets,
swinging their axes and letting the chips fly.
You imagined these men came in from their
day jobs in the bush, spent an hour honing
the edges of their axes before going to work
for some ribbons and extra money. For some
it was. For Wynyard, wood-chopping became
a career where he has gained a formidable
He talks about his 80 axes with the detailed
affection golfers have for their clubs and or
snooker players have for their cues. He gets
his axes from the Tuitahi Racing Axes in
Masterton and then shapes the American
hickory handle and steel to his specific needs.
“ You know what works. The handle has to
be straight in line with the edge of the axe
because if it is not right you can lose up to 10
seconds in one block if your axe is not coming
in at the right angle.
“Then there’s the edge on the steel. You can
spend up to eight hours on an axe getting it
right but you have to do that if you want to
win championships. Most of the stuff is with
angle grinders then the final stuff on the edges
by hand and that takes about an hour.
“ You can’t heat the material up with the
angle grinders so you have to work slowly
because temperature affects the blade and you
have to cool it in water or just leave it.”
Tai spent time as a youngster watching
his father compete and had his own axe
with a round handle. He liked the sport
and according to his father had some ability
but grew away from it as his 2.03m frame
“I did an underhand chop three weeks ago
and it went okay,” he said. Recently he’s had
minor surgery for an ingrown toenail to allow
him to compete for the Junior Tall Blacks in
this week’s Oceania championships in Fiji.
His father has been troubled by occasional
back strains, a shoulder problem and tore his
hamstring quite badly in May and at 40, it
took him a little longer to recover.
“I do a lot of strength training on my legs
and probably got my quads a bit strong,” the
130kg axeman said.
Finding enough quality poplar or pine
training logs is an occupational hazard
which has got harder in the last decade but
Woodward recently gathered a supply near
Ohaeawai. He drops his supplies at his father-
in-law ’s yard, where he trains.
He needs about two months to get ready
for each event and is into his training for his
next tournament in Tasmania in January. It
is different for his Timbersports world title
events where he operates on a much longer
The big events used to be held in the States
until 2011 when the rules were changed to
allow only Americans because Wynyard and
fellow New Zealander David Bolstad were
“I don’t think they liked it too much. That
was the biggest competition you could do and
the most prizemoney. It has not been a good
move though because they have lost a lot of
airtime and without that tv exposure they have
lost sponsors. It is not as spectacular as it was
and the standard has dropped, times are not as
fast as they were.”
Races were close but only one or two axemen
were capable of winning. Times had blown out
from 12 to 20 seconds, to
show how much standards
instincts fire up when
he tangles one on one
with Tai on the practice
basketball court or feels
like haranguing officials if
his son is being roughed
up on the court.
He spent most of his
early life in Pukeatua,
then Murupara, where his
father was a contractor
for a logging company.
Money was good, the
crime rate was much lower
and there were about 40 members of the
The family then moved north to Kawakawa
and Wynyard continued to chop but only as a
hobby because there was not enough money in
it. D uring the week he was working at a quarry
and driving a concrete truck, then competing
at events in the weekend.
“I won my first world championship at
18 and won some championships here and
represented New Zealand against Australia
and it came to a point where I was at the top
level and looked to go to the States,” he said.
“I had come a long way since that first
Mamaku carnival. I had the passion and that
was in me from the start. I wanted to win
after that and make amends. I went back and
trained a lot harder and then I came up the
“ We had been watching tournaments on
ESPN and I thought I could do pretty well at
that. The chainsaw and hot-saw stuff was all
pretty new to me but I figured I could do well
enough in the wood-chopping and sawing to
offset that. I was right.
“Each trip was three months because of the
series and qualifiers. I couldn’t afford to take
the time off work so I thought I’d give it a go
and chucked my job in. I didn’t do so well in
the series because I broke the handle off my
single saw. I was leading on points in the
fourth event at the bottom of a log. I grabbed
the saw and finished it but was too far behind.
“It happens but I have made sure it hasn’t
again. I made sure I had stainless handles after
that. I was fifth and broke even that year and
decided to go back the next year and won it
four years straight then.
“Like my wood-chopping at Mamaku, I
had a bad start but that made me even more
determined to go harder and be better.”
Underhand might look the most dangerous
of the six events — springboard, stock saw,
standing block chop, underhand chop, single
block and hotsaw — which make up the
world championship trophy. But it was the
discipline where you had most control of your
axe because you cut flat foot holes.
“The standing chop is a much more dynamic
movement so it is harder to learn,” Wynyard
said. “It is not a science, you get a feel for the
way axes should work and how they respond.
It is the same with saws too.”
“ We don’t have as many wood-chopping
carnivals as we used to. There were seven
competitions up north between Christmas
Day and New Years Day on the circuit about
12 years ago but then they started dropping
off. Now there is only one at Opononi.”
Woodward prefers to use a traditional axe as
the purest element in his sport.
Any time you relied on an engine it became
like motor-racing. The hotsaw was like that
with its highly-modified temperamental
engine. Every part was under so much stress
and could break at any time.
Wynyard had some rough years with his
hotsaws and after five years of drama he built
his own and dramatically reduced the trouble.
He is working as a technician for Stihl in East
Tamaki but has not shelved his tournament
“ You’ve got to keep your eye in, you need to
stay in nick and Australia is the best place for
that,” he said.
He was able to continue his career because
wife Karmyn worked for Air New Zealand.
According to Tai, she was a “superwoman”.
She went to Alaska on a basketball
scholarship before she had Tai and went
wood-chopping. Alaska was too cold, the days
were too short and the basketball was a tough
Wynyard had some big paydays but found
a steady job and a regular income suited him
instead of having to budget with varying
Son Tai is eyeing a basketball scholarship
once he finishes at Rangitoto College next
year. He was at school 70% of this year because
of basketball trips but had knuckled down to
his study each time.
“I worried about that and some of the kids
get jealous I’m sure but he has studied well
each time he has come back,” Wynyard said.
“He wants to make NBA basketball a career
and we talk about professional sport and what
life would be if Tai could do something like
Steven Adams. We’ve had a lot of scholarship
offers but we have time to improve his game
with the Breakers before taking up any college
“He is in a hurry and has inherited the desire
and single-mindedness from his parents. I’ve
never found a piece of wood that beat me.
“ You draw your random piece of wood, look
at it for about 30 seconds and then work out
how to cut it. You have a plan and that might
be I’ll put 10 hits in the front and eight in the
back but sometimes you have to change if you
hit a knot.
“The key is making sure you train hard to
do all the disciplines well and never give up.
That ’s the contest and life isn’t it?”
JUMBO CROSSWORD SOLUTION 1082
ACROSS: 1 Instant, 4 One and only, 9 Staunch, 13 Coat, 14 Beggar, 15
Dating, 16 Ostrich, 19 Recovering, 20 Señorita, 21 Agree, 24 Return, 25
Medals, 27 Obstinate, 32 Bullseye, 33 Cliffs, 34 Flannel, 38 Equipped, 39
Rabble, 40 Alps, 41 Pills, 42 Slyly, 45 Trifling amount, 52 Penny, 55
Spasm, 56 Ewer, 57 Pliers, 58 Uncouple, 61 Tersely, 62 Imbibe, 63
Intended, 66 Immigrant, 68 Flashy, 69 Attend, 73 Kitty, 74 Consider, 76
Antisocial, 81 Brother, 82 Famine, 83 Rumour, 84 Stay, 85 Trudged, 86
Understand, 87 Ecuador.
DOWN: 1 Incur, 2 Scarcity, 3 Theory, 4 Organ, 5 Ears, 6 Nudists, 7
Outing, 8 Lunar, 10 Test, 11 Upright, 12 Cycled, 17 Oversupply, 18
State, 22 Baseball, 23 Angle, 24 Rafters, 26 Even, 28 Buffalo, 29 Client,
30 Cinema, 31 Berlin, 33 Cabin, 35 Noise, 36 Jury, 37 Spin, 43 Lapsed,
44 Lasts, 46 Rows, 47 Foreman, 48 Impair, 49 Guide, 50 Marginal, 51
Tenant, 52 Protection, 53 Nape, 54 Yielded, 59 Claim, 60 Etch, 64
Crook, 65 Depicted, 67 Mutated, 68 Farmers, 70 Mirror, 71 Admire, 72
Figure, 75 Slain, 77 Named, 78 Layer, 79 Fete, 80 Aria.
Wood chopping champion still has the edge
PICTURE: New Zealand Herald
Jason Wynyard and son Tai were named joint winners of the Albie Pryor
Memorial Maori Sportsperson of the Year.
After attempting to pummel the
human equivalent of a cannonball
in Sherman Williams last time out,
Joseph Parker and his camp are quietly
looking for ward to fighting a big
man in Irineu Beato Costa Junior
Costa Junior, who yesterday tipped
the scales at 115.40kg, will take to the
Claudelands Arena ring for the main
event of the Fight for Life card more
than 10kg heavier than Parker, who
weighed in at 104.50kg.
The Brazilian, who is a similar height
to Parker, will — unlike the defensive
Williams — come for ward, but not in
a particularly threatening manner if his
last fight in October, a points loss to
Christian Hammer in Germany, is any
It was only his first defeat in 16
professional fights but it was extremely
comprehensive — he was second best
in all of the 12 rounds.
Costa Junior will present Parker
with a big and relatively cumbersome
target, and although the 22-year-old
New Zealander will be wary of his
opponent ’s powerful right hand, it
will be a good opportunity for him
to put together some potentially
damaging combinations, particularly to
One of his shortcomings in his points
victory over Williams in Auckland in
October was his failure to go to the
Bahamas fighter’s body until about
midway through the 10-round fight.
Williams, a wily and durable veteran,
was able to roll with the punches until
Parker started making inroads with his
body shots and the plan for tonight is
to start that way.
“Costa Junior offers a bigger target
than Sherman did,” Parker said.
“The plan is to go into the fight and
start working the body and slow him
down. I’ve been working on a big body
game for this fight so hopefully I’m
able to nail that.”
Parker was outspoken in his aim to
become only the second man to stop
Williams, something he couldn’t quite
achieve at Henderson’s Trusts Arena
last time out, but, on the eve of his
12th professional bout there was a
more philosophical message, albeit one
with a sting in the tail.
“For me it’s just about going in there
and boxing smartly,” he said. “If it goes
the distance, it goes the distance but
I feel I have the power to stop any
Williams was adamant after his
unanimous points defeat that the
decision was wrong, but there is
unlikely to be a similar reaction from
Costa Junior should the judges go
Asked yesterday whether he thought
he would win, Costa Junior said via an
interpreter that he would prefer simply
to state that he would be trying his
best for victory.
After five fights in eight months,
Parker’s thoughts are already turning
to his planned holiday in Samoa but
trainer Kevin Barry yesterday stressed
the need for improvement and the
need to finish the year on a high.
Meanwhile, former All Black Carlos
Spencer weighed in at a trim 84.30kg
for his professional cruiserweight
fight against Monty Betham, the main
Spencer, who played 35 tests at first-
five, weighed about 95kg during his
rugby career. Betham tipped the scales
In a minor controversy ahead of a
corporate bout between Millie Elder-
Holmes and Shortland Street actor
Frankie Adams, it seems likely that
Adams will weigh in over the 68kg
limit. Filming commitments prevented
her from weighing at the venue
yesterday, but she is reportedly 3kg
over the limit.
Elder-Holmes weighed in at 68kg
and said she wanted her opponent
to do likewise. Adams has until 3pm
today to weigh in. If she remains
over weight, she has two hours to lose it
or enter into negotiations with Elder-
Holmes and event promoters D uco.
“I think she should make weight,
obviously,” Elder Holmes said.
She said she had taken a very
disciplined approach to her first
fight and it was only fair Adams did
“I can’t wait, I’m so excited for
tomorrow night,” Elder-Holmes said.
of the New Zealand Herald
New Zealand will not be able to claim
unfamiliarity with their opponents when
they play Australia tomorrow morning
for a spot in the Champions Trophy
They know each other well and most
recently had a three-match series at
home against the Aussies last month,
for two draws and a narrow loss, and out
of that came the knowledge that they
are highly competitive against the team
ranked No 2, two places higher than
The Black Sticks confirmed their place
in the semi-finals with a convincing 3-1
win over England in Mendoza yesterday,
and were worth every bit of the victory.
Goals from Rose Keddell — deflecting
an Anita Punt drive at a penalty corner
and Punt from another penalty
corner drag flick in the first half gave
New Zealand the initiative they play
They were more assertive going
for ward, frequently troubled the English
defence, who conceded eight penalty
Although Laura Unsworth pulled
one back for England early on, Stacey
Michelsen’s tap in six minutes from the
end sealed the win.
That was fitting as Michelsen, back in a
for ward role after helping out at the back
against China in the last pool game, and
Punt were the outstanding players. As
befitting their status as senior players,
they led by example against a team who
have troubled the Black Sticks on big
They denied New Zealand an Olympic
bronze in London — although that
was more down to the Black Sticks
having a shocker — and a chance
for Commonwealth Games gold in
Glasgow this year.
There was to be no repeat yesterday.
“I thought the girls did really well
today, I’m really pleased. The composure
and the ability to both attack and
defend well and to limit England to one
goal and no field goals, I thought was
pleasing,” coach Mark Hager said of the
win achieved in 37degC heat.
Michelsen was chuffed to have a strong
game, after being critical of herself in
“ I’ve been pretty rusty so it was good
to play a little bit better in such an
important game,” she said.
Her key for the Australian game is
to replicate the pressure they put on
England. “ The pressure we put on
was really good. We came our really
strong and that ’s something we’ve been
working on, starting aggressively and
that ’s something we’ ll try and do against
New Zealand were particularly
assertive early in the final quarter, when
England were searching for a way back
into the match.
Only scoring from two of those eight
penalty corner chances is something the
Black Sticks will focus on in the day off
before the semi-final. Against Australia
taking those opportunities will be
critical. — NZME
of the New Zealand Herald
The 2015 NRL season launch will
be held on this side of the Tasman
for the first time in the game’s
history in a show of recognition
for the role the Warriors and New
Zealand league plays.
The launch will take place in
Auckland on January 29, in the lead
up to the NRL Auckland Nines
that begins two days later.
The announcement comes as a
boon for the Warriors, who are
celebrating 20 years in the NRL,
and is a tribute to the Kiwis’ Four
Nations triumph as the game
enjoys a golden period of exposure
and support in New Zealand.
“For us, it’s huge. It is really, really
big,” explained Warriors chief
executive Jim Doyle. “It’s great
the NRL have chosen to launch
the NRL season here in New
Zealand, particularly in our 20-year
“From our point of view, to have
all 16 clubs here in one place, first
and foremost for the nines but
more importantly now to launch
the whole season, it shows how
important New Zealand is to the
NRL and it shows how closely we
can work with them, so that ’s a real
“ Hopefully this will be a huge
kick-start to a really successful and
positive 2015 for the Warriors.
“ We are obviously a very, very
strong club over here in our 20th
year but, at the same time, we
provide a lot of players from New
Zealand into lots of other clubs.
“ It ’s continuously growing. And
with the success of the Kiwis as
well, it’s a real positive.”
It will be the only occasion when
all 16 clubs come together at the
same time during the 2015 season,
along with the game’s heavyweight
administrators, and provides the
chance for fans to celebrate the
diversity of the NRL calendar —
from the nines through to the NRL
“There will be something for
everyone in 2015 and we want
to promote the full rugby league
calendar in the 2015 launch,”
explained Paul Kind, NRL head of
“ It ’s also fitting New Zealand,
who play such an important role in
our club and international schedule,
have the opportunity to host the
In what would be another first,
plans are also under way for the
Footy Show to be broadcast from
Auckland that evening, and a
special fan day will be held in Aotea
Square on January 30 to allow
supporters the chance to meet the
game’s biggest stars from each club.
Doyle said fans would play an
integral role in the launch and
Warriors fans in particular would
have the opportunity to get involved
in the festivities.
“Last year the NRL used fans and
members of each of the clubs and
naturally they want to continue on
with that,” he said.
“Naturally, being here in New
Zealand, I’m sure there will be a
lot of Warriors members being
involved in the whole season
“They will have all the top players,
even the players who are not
playing in the nines. They will still
bring across the top players to be
part of the season launch. ”
Kind said clubs attracted more
than 250,000 members for the first
time in 2014, and the aim was to
beat that record in 2015.
“The more we can engage with
fans at events such as the launch
and encourage people to become
members, the more secure our clubs
will be in the future,” he said.
NRL season launch: Thursday,
January 29; NRL Fan Day in Aotea
Square: Friday, January 30; NRL
Auckland Nines: Saturday January
31 and Sunday February 1.
Wellington have eased into the Georgie
Pie Super Smash final after dispatching
Northern Districts in Hamilton last
The home side might have been
defending champions and top qualifiers
but they were no match for a Wellington
side led by a masterful display of slow
Spinners Jeetan Patel and Luke
Woodcock combined with medium
pacer Grant Elliott to restrict the
Knights to a below par 124-5 from their
20 overs. In reply, Michael Papps scored
65 from 46 balls as Wellington cruised
to their target with right wickets and 23
balls to spare.
The win saw Wellington move into
Sunday ’s final, also at Seddon Park,
where they could face a rematch with
ND, depending on the outcome of the
Knights’ clash with Auckland tomorrow.
If the final does indeed feature another
meeting between the top two teams
in the round robin, Wellington will
be confident of claiming the spoils
and winning a spot in the Twenty20
That confidence would have come from
their dominance tonight, which began as
early as the second over when Patel took
the wicket of Brad Wilson.
The Knights attempted to rebuild
but it was not until No 6 batsman
Daryl Mitchell that an individual score
advanced past 20.
ND were simply strangled by an
slow-pace attack that saw Patel (1-
14), Woodcock (1-18) and Elliott
(2-20) each complete their four overs in
economical fashion. The Knights, shorn
of several internationals, were guilty of
being too tentative at the crease and only
in the final overs, when Mitchell was
joined by Scott Kuggeleijn, did the ball
find the fence with any regularity.
In contrast, Wellington raced to their
target in a hurry, aided by some loose
bowling from much of the ND attack.
Although Daniel Flynn completed a
fine run-out from the seat of his pants
to dismiss Michael Pollard, the early
wicket did nothing to dampen Papps’
enthusiasm. — NZ ME
Black Sticks to face
Aussie in semi-final
PICTURE: Getty Images
Joseph Parker, right, poses with Irineu Costa Beato during the KFC Fight For Life Media Opportunity at
The Cavalier on Wednesday in Auckland.
NRL to launch 2015
season in Auckland
Wellington into Super Smash final
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