Ngahere Sawmilling Co Ltd
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About Ngahere Sawmilling Company Ltd

There's some interesting history behind Ngahere Sawmilling. It was first established by Dave and Claire Coyle in 1980, and it has been owned and operated by his family ever since.

Dave worked for the New Zealand Forest Service in various state-owned sawmills around the country from 1950, and developed some great experience and contacts in the industry. In 1980, a small sawmill not far from the Conical Hill Sawmill where Dave was General Manager was put up for sale and he decided to buy it. He named it Ngahere, after the town where his wife, Claire, grew up and coincidentally, the Maori word for forest or wood.

The location of the sawmill, on the banks of the Pomahaka River, was prone to flooding so Dave decided to shift the sawmill to higher ground. He found a suitable spot that just happened to be one of the paddocks where Cardigan Bay, the famous harness racing horse, spent his early years.

Since shifting to Cardigan Bay, the business has grown exponentially. Today, Dave's son Stephen is the General Manager and his wife Debra runs the office. Another son, Michael, is the Operations Manager. There's soon to be a third generation working at the sawmill when Stephen and Debra's son, Scott, joins the family business in 2017. Dave, who is now in his eighties and still sharp as a tack, comes by for a yarn and a poke around about once a week.

The sawmill employs 20 people and many of them have been there for more than 20 years. That's a lot of experience and expertise and it speaks to the reliability and quality of work customers have grown to expect.

Stephen says one of the reasons Ngahere Sawmilling is still around is because they specialised in pallets and bins and didn't try to compete with the bigger sawmills who were focused on housing timber. Their customers will tell you their friendly, personalised service and quality products are the reason. Either way, they've stuck with a winning formula and it's served them - and their customers - well. 

Stephen Coyle, Managing Director

Stephen started working at the Ngahere Sawmilling in 1985, after several years as a mechanic. He enjoys meeting others in the industry and being involved in industry organisations like the the New Zealand Timber Preservation Council and the New Zealand Timber Industry Federation, where he is a board member. 

Stephen and his wife have been married for 35 years and have three adult children. They enjoy heading off to their crib in Cromwell to hang out with friends and drink exceptional Central Otago wines. He also likes to do a bit of boating, fishing and travel.

Debra Coyle, Office Manager

When Debra was asked to lend a hand in 1990, she had no idea she'd still be around 26 years later. She's not just the boss' wife, she also handles all the accounts and payroll and is known around the mill as "she'll do it" becaue she gets things done.

Debra loves spending time with her family, including three children, and 3 grandchildren. She enjoys playing golf, walking, boating and fishing.

Janine Richards, Frontline Receptionist

Janine joined the team in 2003, when she offered to help her sister Debra during an especially busy time. She's the friendly voice that answers the phone and she also handles export papers and data entry.

When she's not in the office she enjoys spending time with her three children and two grandchildren. She also follows ballroom dancing, likes to listen to music, read and go out with friends and family. 

Michael Coyle, Operations Manager

Michael is an intregal part of the family business and has been there almost from the beginning. An all rounder, he not only makes pallets, operates the debarker and drives the log loader, he also helps out in the mill, the planing shed, the yard or anywhere else he's needed.

Michael has been married to his wife, Dee, for 20 years and they have an adult son, Thomas, who is also working at the sawmill. He enjoys spending time in Central Otago, reading, boating and watching rugby.

Basil Waddell

Basil's first stint at Ngahere Sawmilling lasted 25 years until he bought himself a portable sawmill and decided to strike out on his own. He came back about four years ago as Site Manager and runs the optimizer, looks after staff, takes care of the kiln and helps with export. He's always liked sawmilling and enjoys what he does.

Basil been married to Stephanie for 17 years and between them they have seven children and 10 grandchildren. When he's not busy with family he likes to renovate houses and make use of his portable mill.

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