In what is an exciting first for The Rhododendron Festival, the New Zealand Arboricultural Association (NZAA) will be on show in an exhibition of competitive tree climbing. As a sneak-peek to the main event, the tree climbers will be practising their routine on the Octagon trees at 12.30pm this Wednesday October 20.
“Our tree climbers are incredibly competitive and at the top of the world game - regularly placing highly at international events and boasting two women’s world champions (as well as the women’s world record holder),” says Jerry Lynch, Otago Polytechnic Arboriculture Lecturer and NZAA Executive Member.
This is a great opportunity to witness the nimble athleticism of these competitors and get a taste for the quirky sport that is gathering popularity all over the world. The climbers make quite a spectacle, so be sure to bring your camera along for a fantastic photo opportunity.
The NZAA Tree Climbing Competition Exhibition will be held this Saturday October 23, from 8.30am-4.30pm, at the Otago Museum reserve. Free of charge, the event is perfect for the whole family, with activities also on offer for children. The event is to promote the skills, the competition, and to raise the profile of Arboriculture as a profession.
Tree Climbing Competition Background:
Tree climbing competitions began in the mid 1970s, in the USA, and simulated actual work scenarios for arborists. Initially, contestants competed as a team in four events; The Work Climb, Aerial Rescue, Rope Throw, and the13 Metre Footlock, or Body Thrust Speed Climb. The scores for each event were tallied and highest score produced a winner.
After concerns for safety and insurance issues temporarily discontinued the Footlock event from competitions, the event was redeveloped in 1989 and reintroduced. Eventually, as the variety of rope techniques grew, the competition was ‘internationalised’ during the 1990’s, which allowed climbers from all corners of the world to compete together. Climbers now compete in five events – the Work Climb, the Aerial Rescue, the Throwline, the Belayed Speed Climb, and the Secured Footlock.