Will Koomjian (left) and Shane Blacktopp in the Queenstown
Gardens last week. Photo by Christina McDonald.
The work he does is described as ''every arborist's
dream'' by a fellow arborist and it's easy to see why.
Will Koomjian, from Portland, Oregon, in the US, was last
week speaking to attendees of the New Zealand Arboricultural
Association's annual conference, which Mr Koomjian said was
perfect timing, as his project in Madagascar ended a couple
of weeks ago.
''I was rigging trees for a lemur study. There's a species of
lemur that lives in the rainforest and spends almost its
entire life in the largest trees.''
His work involved putting cameras in the tallest trees to
help document the lemurs and taking botanical samples from
the trees to ''try and understand more about the forest
''They [scientists] believe that there's probably a lot of
correlation [between] the trees and how the lemurs use the
He and fellow arborist Shane Blacktopp, from Vancouver,
Canada, were in the resort representing a non-governmental
organisation, aptly named Ascending the Giants, which has
been measuring and documenting ''superlative trees, the
largest, tallest and oldest of their species'' globally since
Ascending the Giants co-founders Mr Koomjian and Brian French
were invited to talk at the conference but Mr French was
unable to attend and the timing suited Mr Blacktopp.
The conference was held on Thursday and Friday and on
Saturday arborists did what they do best at the national
Winners Nicky Ward-Allen, of Eltham, and James Kilpatrick, of
Tauranga, earned tickets to compete at the international
New Zealander Scott Forrest, the defending world champion,
will also represent New Zealand next August.
New Zealand Arboricultural Association vice-president Chris
Walsh said the work Ascending the Giants does is ''every
arborist's dream'', but so is arborism in general for
''It's the envy of a lot of people who work in offices.''
New Zealand leads the world in arborism innovation, Mr
''The tree climbing community in New Zealand is incredibly
small but it's really well-known around the world.
''A lot of the cutting edge stuff comes from New Zealand.''