Northland Axemen's Association Inc

Rex Davidson passed away 15th May 2009 in Christchurch. Rex was a member of the first NZ Team in 1960, along with his brother Innes.

He won a world championship. Then in 1953 he was awarded the Warner Merit Certificate for the most outstanding axemen in NZ not previously receiving the award. 1959 2nd in World Championship (Bill Shelford 1ST) 1960 NZ Hallstrom Cup Relay Team to Syndey. First Axemens Team and they Won. 1966 NZ Team Member to Sydney. Rex placed in 7 NZ Championships ( winning 1) Rex placed in 7 North Island Championships (winning 6) Rex placed in 3 South Island Championships. In 1955 he won the Classic Whata Green Memorial Handicap at Otaki. He won at least 8 major handicap events and placed in a further 16.

Northland bids farewell to a champion woodchopper

It is a part of the job that is not always all that appealing.

But then sport can do that to people. It can make them obsessive.

To the point where they can be over-powering, over-zealous and, quite frankly, over-the-top.

But obsession can sometimes be misdiagnosed. It can often be more accurately described as passion.

When it came to passion for a sport, one doubts if there will be anyone who will hold a candle to Innes Davidson.

An axeman, Davidson died of liver cancer on Sunday aged 77, marking the end of a career that has left an indelible mark on the Northland sporting community. To be frank, Davidson was the godfather of woodchopping in Northland, a legendary figure in a sporting code where only the strong survive. And when it came to strength, Davidson had bucketsful.

A former national representative, world and national record holder, national veterans representative and even as recently as two months ago, active competitior, Davidson was buried at the Maunu Cemetery yesterday.

But his memory is likely to survive for many more years to come, and not just for those who swung an axe or two, but by those who happened to report on it too.

Because Davidson, who came from a family of 13, was one of those sportsmen who was initially diagnosed improperly.

A fierce advocate for his sport, Davidson left no stone unturned when it came to promoting woodchopping. So when it came to battling for space in the newspaper he fought a very direct battle.

First it started with weekly phone calls, initially to inform. Those soon turned into twice weekly calls, the first to inform, the second to check up.

Very soon the phone calls turned into visits and the visits into earbashings.

Standing well over six foot tall, and weighing in a few good notches above the 100kg mark, these visits worked. Through sheer intimidation, woodchopping got good coverage But in the process, Innes Davidson won a convert.

Because once you started discussing the finer points of smashing a block of wood to pieces with Innes Davidson, you couldn't help but be intrigued.

And once you were intrigued with woodchopping , you were Davidson's friend for life.

A devout Christian, Davidson was such a popular figure that there were hundreds of mourners at his funeral yesterday.

In a moving ceremony, Davidson was eulogized by two former New Zealand axemen, Bill Wynyard and Nelson Parker, honoured for serving with armed forces in Korea, and given a fitting tribute by several of his immediate family.

But the biggest tribute to Davidson the axeman will stand in the record books for eternity.

Davidson won three world titles, 16 national medals, a multitude of sawing titles, was presented the Warner Award, woodchopping's ultimate honour, three times, and was the New Zealand veterans standing chop champion for 10 years running.

In woodchopping, Davidson was a hard-hitter.

When it came to dealing with sports reporters, he was the same.

It might sound a little trite, but his death will hit the woodchopping community just as hard. 

Chas Edmondson (ex Paparoa) passed away suddenly at home aged 84.

Chas was a great supporter of our sport and donated many grand trophies which were competed for by the Northland Ladies and Youth. A celebration of his life will be held in at the Dargaville Boating Club Monday 07/09/08 at 1.00pm.


Eric Warner  NZAA Historian


His funeral is on Wednesday, 10.30am

at Seddon Park Funeral home in



To the Warner Family

Our heartfelt condolences to Helen and family at the passing of Eric.  His contribution and dedication to preserving the history of wood chopping for the future of the sport has been immeasurable. Eric will be missed.

From the Kauri Coast Axemen’s Club - Dargaville


So sorry to learn of Eric’s passing. He was such a wonderfully generous man who, when I asked for his help, wrote to me and explained all the history of our club and who / how it was formed. I was planning on emailing him next year to help with the preparations of our club’s 50th Year Anniversary. He was a passionate and devoted ambassador for the sport and will be missed throughout the country. Our sincere and heart felt condolences to you and Warner family.

From all the members of the Puhoi Axemens Club


Our deepest sympathy to Eric’s family his contribution to our sport has been immense and he will be sorely missed.

Northland Axemen’s Association 

Champion axeman dies after winning competition.

PASSED AWAY: David Bolstad The wood-chopping world is in mourning following the sudden death of leading axeman David Bolstad after winning a competition in Waiuku. About 30 minutes after his last chop at the Waiuku Cosmopolitan Axemen Club championships on Saturday afternoon, Mr Bolstad headed towards his car. "He fell down and could not be revived," a club spokeswoman said. "Emergency services were called immediately but were unable to revive him at the scene." She said Mr Bolstad, who was in his 40s, rested for about 30 minutes after finishing his final chop. "He was heavily involved in competition all day and he told us how he had been pig hunting in the King Country before coming up to Waiuku. He was a very fit man." Like his father Sonny before him, Mr Bolstad was a New Zealand representative axeman. He and fellow Kiwi Jason Wynyard dominated the professional Stihl Timbersport series in the United States from 1997. He also represented New Zealand at polocrosse. Mr Bolstad owned a small forestry company in the King Country. He wrote on his Facebook page recently how he constantly practised for wood-chopping competitions. "I help to train and coach junior and senior axemen and, four weeks prior to competition, I practise by milling 250 tonnes of wood." At the time of his death he had won more than 50 major woodchopping championships worldwide. He won Saturday's team event, along with Shane Jordan and Morgan Wesche. A club spokesman said it was a privilege for members to have shared Mr Bolstad's final day at Waiuku. The Waiuku Club's competition ended yesterday and the chopping began with one minute's silence in Mr Bolstad's honour. David is survived by his wife Michelle and two children.

Puhoi Axemen REX PARKER - passed away Wednesday October 27th 2010.

Rex is a life member of the Northland Axemen's Association and will be fondly remembered for his contribution to our sport.

Meetings at the Wellsford Warkworth Puhoi and Helensville A & P Shows were all kept going for many years by Rex and his small band of men. Even when attending another meeting Rex was quite often called upon to be the starter or block steward for the day. Rex was a member of the NZ Veterans Team.

Our condolences to the Parker family we will miss the old fulla.



Fred first started chopping at Kaeo in 1944: 2 years later he won his first event a Maiden, at Kaikohe.

As a competitor he has had many notable successes over the years, including places in Northland championships with the axe and some New Zealand class performances with the saw. He once won a double handed sawing event at the Brisbane Show. He was also winner of the prestigious "Bill Shelford Memorial".

He has been the driving force in the establishment and revival of several clubs in Northland, leading the way with hard physical work, felling trees, preparing blocks, setting up ring enclosures and helping run the actual day.

Often outspoken and a fanatic for "Fair Play" made Fred a very good Axemen's Representative. He has held every possible official position with in a club, representing Northland as an Executive and consul.

Perhaps his greatest contribution was the willingness to teach and share his knowledge to those just staring in the sport with coaching sharpening and preparing axes even loaning axes to young competitors.

Fred was honoured in 1987 with the Warner Services Certificate for services to woodchopping Life Membership to Northland and the Alison Memorial trophy for services to Northland.

Fred will be remembered by many in Northland for his enthusiasm, directness, sense of fair play, strong work ethic of "work first play after" and "if the job is worth doing do it properly".

His renowned skill felling large native trees such as Kauri Totara Rimu etc for timber made him sought after whenever a difficult or important job was to be carried out and this included measuring blocks of native timber for NZFS logging.

Fred will be remembered as a very good Quarry Manager for Portland Cement for 26 years.

His enjoyed many regular "social" after work discussions at some of Northlands Taverns and Hotels.

It would be fair to say Fred was well respected and Northland could be proud of the efforts he put into wood chopping with his favourite club being Mid Western

Fred passed away peacefully on 14 June 2008.


Bill Brownlee

Family man, Community man, Sportsman

Bill had a great ability to make friends easily in all facets of his life. His jovial manner was always to the forefront in all of his endeavours.

He was such a great family and young people's person that sometimes it would be difficult for an outsider to see who was enjoying the games and leg pulling the most. Bill's sense of humour was definitely one of his qualities.

He was a good ruby player for Mid-Western Northland and Northland Maori's. "Capt". He was a passionate duck shooter especially with family and friends and an encouragement to his son, Mark, to represent in the NZ Clay Target team.

In wood chopping, he represented Northland many times. His pride and joy was winning the Tokoroa $1000.00 event and the 12 placings in championship sawing events. Six of these were with his wife Janice and included 2 NZ records.

Something else he took great pride in was being a member of a very successful N. Is Axemen & Sawyers team. They won 3 tests against Australia in a Canberra show in 1998.

Bill enjoyed many successes with his brother Maurice in sawing, starting with a major win at Dinsdale. Throughout the years, he has figured prominently in all disciplines of the sport in Northland.

Bill has also enjoyed "doing his bit" as he would say; starter, ring steward, administration and preparing of blocks. He was caretaker of equipment - U.H cradles sawing stands and dummies etc.

He will be remembered for his sportsmanship and was never one to enter into any controversial discussions without first knowing all the facts.

Looking back at his record, his name figures often in Northland and the neighbouring areas.

In all Bill Brownlee will be miss in Mid- Western, Northland and all areas he competed in.

His like do not come this way often. When you look back to the west, there is gap on the ridge.


Sid Hoani 21.02.06 one day short of his 67th birthday. Sid's woodchopping career started in 1969 at Vinegar Hill in Whangarei under the coaching of John Grimshaw. Sid was so embarrassed by his first outing as he wasn't even able to complete the block, he vowed that wouldn't happen again. Sid went on to represent North Auckland in both the A and B teams. Sid's forte though was getting meetings started and helping set up other clubs. Pawarenga Panguru Broadwood Kaikohe Hokianga Pupuke Mangamuka Waimate North Kohu Kohu and Kaitaia have all benefitted from his help. Broadwood is an A & P Show that Sid and his family ran for 28yrs. Panguru are back on the circuit, so are Pupuke, who used to run their meeting on the 28th Dec which was Sid and Muriels wedding anniversary, their meeting is now the 29th Dec, and there is talk of starting something up in Kohu Kohu again. Sid's family also acknowledges the help Innes gave to Sid in getting Pupuke up and running lending him all his equipment etc. During his travels around NZ Sid came up with a design for a hand wound peeler that he had made in Kaikohe. In time they added a motor to the peeler which is still in use. Sid gave his heart to wood chopping for 30 years just because he loved the sport. This love could mean having 17 extras at his home over the Christmas circuit, which was never a problem as his home was always open. He also arranged a trip for 33 axemen to Bundenberg Australia in 1984, doing most of the fundraising and organising of accommodation food uniforms travel etc with only the help of his dedicated wife. Sid was a silent worker who had the backing of his whanau always. He is sorely missed by Muriel (who was involved in the sport just as much as him) and their whanau. Excerpt from NAA Inc Presidents report 2006 B Carter Sid Hoani died this year 21.02.06. Sid was one of our best natured axemen who supported his wife Muriel, our handicapper for years. Sid really enjoyed his time on the circuit and would support and entertain our visiting axemen. Everyone enjoyed Sid's company and sense of humour. He ran the chopping in the Mangamuka area and at the Broadwood show for 20 odd years. To Muriel and his family we send our condolences and fond memories.