Kevin Ihaaka


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  • Team: FPS Geospatial Ltd
  • Role: Managing Director


Position. I am the Managing Director of the FPS group of companies.  Forest Protection Services is the entity that handles our management and consulting work together with the lead role in fire protection and firefighting.

How you ended up working in forestry. I got involved with forestry in Northland during a surge in forest establishment in the 1980s.  I had various contracted roles form weed control and land prep to forest technician and fire control.  One role led to another, and I am still here 40 years later.

What I love about our industry. I love the diversity of tasks and roles available in forestry, but the greatest part of the industry is the people you get to meet and work with.  Forestry people are passionate and practical and are early adopters of new technology and practices.  While some parts of the job haven’t changed much at all over the 40 years I have been involved, other areas are unrecognisable, and I now see a move to look at operations like silviculture and how we can advance technology in previously low-tech functions.

How I use UAVs in my work. Our approach to introducing UAVs is a bit different to many as we started with very practical problems in our everyday work that needed a new approach, so we were very much driven from the bottom up.  Sometimes new tech is a solution that needs to find a problem, this can get very expensive and time consuming for businesses like ours, so we had to stay focused to making a living while exploring new ideas.  Our approach is slow but steady given the investment in time and money required to develop new ways of working.

Why I'm keen to be involved in TFF. We need groups like the TFF to provide a forum for sharing ideas so we don’t waste time recreating what has already been done.  The TFF will allow research and development to be tested and implemented quickly through connections with businesses like ours.

What I would like to do through TFF. Create a network of like-minded individuals and companies grow and share our ideas and successes.

What I think TFF should be focused on. We need to focus equally on the mundane operational issues we have while still chasing a few fringe ideas.  Our business needs to focus on implementation and operationalisation of new learning, but I feel this won’t be the same for everyone so it is a matter of looking at the membership to see where you fit and how you can help.

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