With numerous world champion titles to his name woodchopper, Jason Wynyard has been recognised with the NZ Order of Merit in the New Years Day honours.
Jason says, what better way to celebrate the accolade than competing in the Opononi Axemens' Annual Carnival where he launched his career, "It's one of the first competitions I entered into when I was sixteen and I've always had good success here and its always been one of the solid foundations of Northland woodchopping and it awesome to see them carrying on the tradition. I think they said its over 114 years this year so its pretty amazing for the club to keep it running for this long and it's awesome to come here and compete. There's no better way in my book to start off the new year than to start it off with a wood chop."
Senior axemen Ben Poa says, "In his time Jasons' father Pae Wynyard also represented NZ in woodchopping and today Jason has the NZ Order of Merit added to his numerous World Champion titles."
Jason says, "It's something I'm pretty proud of and I guess you don't think about these things when you're starting out in woodchopping. But it's really nice to get the recognition for my whanau and for all the people who've been supporting me all these years so it's awesome."
Ben Poa says, "He's a real kumara this fella and leaves it to others to sing his praises. He's a peaceful humble guy but when it comes to woodchopping he's totally passionate about teaching those who want to learn the sport."
Over generations, woodchopping has had a massive following in the region but has died out in recent times. But the Opononi Axmens' Club hope that this giant of the woodchopping world can help lead a revival of woodchopping in the current generation.
Ben Poa says, "Perhaps those interested in this type of competition will be inspired watching Jason to get into the sport in the future."
A multiple world champion Jason hopes woodchopping will receive the recognition he's received today, "On a high level it's right up there with any sport in the world and its and old sport and it's one that New Zealand has been great at over the years. And I just hope the recognition generates more interest in the sport and gets things hopefully moving towards more competitors wanting to be a part of it and more competitions running throughout the country."
And by the championship round of today's event, Jason Wynyard was not to be denied.