Mathew Gower is currently working at Norwood in Hawera and completing MITO’s New Zealand Certificate in Heavy Automotive Engineering – Agricultural Equipment. His apprenticeship keeps him busy, but he still has time to compete in one of his favourite hobbies - wood chopping, competing all over New Zealand and even Australia in Timbersports competitions.

Timbersports is a series of wood chopping events using different axes and saws, with athletes competing to win with the fastest times. 

MITO apprentice Mathew Gower placed third in the STIHL Timbersports New Zealand Championships.

Mathew is currently part of the New Zealand Under 21 Rookies’ team Axemen. In March they competed at the New Zealand Rural Games in Palmerston North in the STIHL Timbersports New Zealand Championships. Mathew competed in all events - the single saw, stock saw, standing block, underhand chop and springboard.  Despite having a torn ligament in his ankle, Mathew ended up coming third overall.

His experience with Timbersports started with his dad, “It’s sort of something I’ve always grown up around. My dad was wood chopping, and I would always go to the A&P shows with him. I would see the under 21 boys competing and started talking to them and then eventually I ended up competing with them.”

Mathew has competed at many A&P shows across New Zealand and also went over to Australia last year. “We flew to Adelaide, and I competed with the Under 21 New Zealand team at the Adelaide Royal Show against their Under 21 team in a three-test series. That was pretty cool to travel over there for a competition.”

Mathew says his favourite thing about the sport is meeting new people. “I have friends all over the world and New Zealand now which is awesome. It also keeps you fit and is a good chance to get away and travel.”

At 20 years old Mathew still has a bright future in Timbersports and wood chopping and hopes to continue to represent New Zealand in this sport. “My goal next year is to win the STIHL Timbersports New Zealand Championship and have the chance to represent New Zealand at the World Rookies. I also want to make it into the New Zealand Under 21 Rookies team again this year and carry on up to the men’s grade.”