Global Industry Mourns Loss of Forestry Dynamo & Entrepreneur

John Halkett true to the trees he loved

Wed 11 Oct 23


The death of industry dynamo John Halkett in Sydney on Tuesday has sent ripples of shock and sadness across the forest and forest products sector in Australia, New Zealand and internationally.

The New Zealand-born professional forester and business entrepreneur died in his office a few days before his 77th birthday.

John was more widely known as general manager of the Australian Timber Importers Federation, co-publisher of Timber and Forestry enews and Timber Trader, and author of five books that reflect his love of trees.

He was the managing director of Forestlands Consulting, with expertise in temperate and tropical forest management and forest-based industries.

John held senior positions in government forest and conservation agencies in Australia and New Zealand and worked in the US, Canada, Papua New Guinea, southeast Asia, Myanmar, China and Africa. He was a board member of the Global Timber Forum.

As a respected author, one of his books ‘Trees that Call Australia Home’ was especially successful. In the book’s foreword John said:

“This book is a spiritual, cultural, environmental and economic celebration of Australian trees – trees that are increasingly vital as we search for solutions to climate change, renewable energy and more sustainable lifestyles in the 21st Century.”

We will celebrate John Halkett’s life with the same sentiments.

John is survived by his partner Maxiene McKeon, a travel consultant at Erina on the NSW central coast, daughter Jonelle, granddaughters Hana and Cailin, grandson Eban and four siblings Lawrie, Bob, Peter and Sue.

Brother Lawrie Halkett is well-known on both sides of the Tasman as the former CEO of the New Zealand Pine Manufacturers Association.

Details of John Halkett’s funeral service will be advised.


  • Jim Bowden

    Jim Bowden, senior editor and co-publisher of Wood Central. Jim brings 50-plus years’ experience in agriculture and timber journalism. Since he founded Australian Timberman in 1977, he has been devoted to the forest industry – with a passion.


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