Scion celebrates 70 years of science

For immediate release
18 April 2017


This year is Scion’s 70th Anniversary. It was April 1947 when the then State Forest Service established a Forest Experiment Station beside the existing nursery at Whakarewarewa Forest. Their decision to centralise forestry research laid the foundation for today’s Scion, a Crown research institute that supports New Zealand’s third largest export industry. In 2017 Scion employs over 300 people at offices in Rotorua and Christchurch.

Scion’s research areas have evolved dramatically in the past 70 years. In the 1950s research into growth modelling for forests and timber engineering had only just begun, but some of the timber drying, preservation and fibre production that were developed then are still used today.

Scion now has science capability stretching across the value chain with work in fields from genetics to the design and use of wood, fibre and other forest resources. This reflects the enormous increase in uses for forests and their products over the last 70 years. Forests and their products are now used as sources of energy for liquid biofuels, feedstock for high performance bioplastic in car components and adhesives in sustainable wood products.

Scion CEO Dr Julian Elder says “In our 70 years, Scion has undertaken research that has brought benefits to forestry in New Zealand and around the world. It was our scientists who helped analyse the brown-rot fungi in the Auckland leaky homes in 2004, and it was our science that helped resolve technical issues with the production of wooden beams for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

“Trees are very important to New Zealand, for our economy, our lifestyles and our environment. Going forward their significance will continue to grow. And we will continue to serve New Zealand by optimising forests and protecting them from potential risks and diseases.

“This 70th anniversary is an opportunity look back on those achievements but also to look forward as we continue to grow New Zealand through trees.”

Celebrations at Scion commenced with an in-house event on 10 April and a commemorative staff photo (attached). Activities and events are planned throughout 2017 to honour Scion’s past and look to the future.