Conventional harvesting equipment is focused primarily on mechanised operations on flat terrain. NZ’s unique combination of soils, terrain, climate, forest type and infrastructure means that new methods and techniques need to be developed. As harvesting increasingly moves to steeper land and smaller holdings, the challenges of maintaining international competitiveness with existing logging methods that have changed little in 50 years will mount. In addition to meeting the industry need for equipment to significantly improve productivity and cost of operations, the programme has also identified the opportunity for the local engineering sector to produce quality forestry equipment for both local and export markets. Further motivation for undertaking this programme is to address the current shortage of skilled people to work in physically demanding, difficult and dangerous situations that occur in harvesting on steep terrain and to find ways of eliminating the most dangerous and physically demanding jobs and making the work that is available more attractive to people.