LIRA/LIRO 50th Anniversary Reunion

The 50th Anniversary of the formation of the Logging Industry Research Association (LIRA) and the Logging Industry Research Organisation (LIRO) was celebrated on Thursday 23 May 2024, at the Distinction Hotel in Rotorua. The event attracted over 40 of the 100 or so forestry and harvesting researchers who worked or were associated with both LIRA and LIRO from 1974 to the year 2000.

After more than 20 years, all who attended enjoyed reconnecting and sharing memories and stories. Special guests were Julie and Peter Spiers, daughter, and son of the founder and first Director of LIRA, J.J.K. (Jim) Spiers (pictured).

Previous Director of LIRA, John Galbraith, and previous Directors of LIRO, Bryce Heard and Glen Murphy (pictured) were also present. A highlight of the reunion was an ‘open mike’ session where previous staff members shared their memories of LIRA and LIRO.

The evening included dinner at the Kowhai Restaurant and after-dinner speaker, Mr Paul Mahoney, a well-known timber industry historian, gave an amusing presentation on the history of logging in New Zealand called “Sawdust and Sweat”.

Keith Raymond (FGR Programme Manager of the Automation and Robotics PGP Research Partnership) attended the reunion and commented, “So many good memories were shared on the night, we all remember how we worked and played together, and became lifelong friends. It is a testament to the connections we all made back then that so many wanted to meet again and reconnect.”