Nelson Pine Industries Ltd. (NPIL) is a true New Zealand-Japan success story. Located in Nelson on the northern shores of New Zealand’s South Island, NPIL processes Radiata Pine, a large softwood, from the Nelson-Marlborough region.
The company processes 40 percent of the region’s annual harvest of Radiata Pine into GoldenEdge medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and NelsonPine laminated veneer lumber (LVL). With three production lines in operation, NPIL is one of the largest single site producers of MDF in the world.
In 1984, NPIL was promoted by two New Zealand companies and invited Tokyo’s Sumitomo Forestry Company Ltd. (SFC) to join as a shareholder as they provided an agreement to market up to 50 percent of the plant’s MDF output in Japan under the brand name N-P Wood. SFC proved to be the right partner and the seeds of a strong alliance were sown.
“At the time, we had achieved a favorable cost of production and the introduction of the pioneering continuous press enabled us to offer our fiberboard in a wide range of thicknesses,” said NPIL Managing Director Murray Sturgeon.
“Our location close to the port made the supply of MDF products easier and SFC also appreciated the light honey color of Radiata Pine; the stars truly aligned for both parties and SFC took on full ownership of NPIL in 1993.”
In 2015, SFC purchased 30,000 hectares of the Nelson region’s pine forests to secure a long-term supply. Earlier this year, Sturgeon and NPIL’s 260 employees received an award from SFC celebrating the company’s annual profit growth for three consecutive years.
Today, GoldenEdge MDF is shipped to furniture manufacturers throughout Japan, Southeast Asia and the U.S., while LVL is used in the construction industries in Japan, New Zealand, Australia and Dubai.
Notably, NPIL’s LVL products are being used in the construction of the new state-of-the-art Nelson Airport Terminal that will tell the story of the region’s famed timber
industry. The fifty-year timber industry veteran Sturgeon is proud of the company’s
ties to Japan.
“I have been working with the Japanese for over 30 years,” said Sturgeon. “It has been the most pleasurable experience of my career and I look forward to continuing to grow our business and strengthen our friendships.”