People queue for hours to buy firewood in Christchurch as shortage persists

It seems that we, as a nation, choose to live like cavemen during the winter only to step out into the first-world spring sun after three arduous months.  Does New Zealand swing from a first to a third-world country depending on the seasons?  Why do we rely on wood to keep us warm? Why do we choose to live in one room during the winter months?

The following article from Stuff demonstrates how Christchurch relies on pioneering heating techniques from yesteryear to stay warm.

Huge queues form for firewood purchases in Christchurch as more cold and wet weather looms.

Hundreds of people have queued for hours to buy firewood from Christchurch’s largest supplier as harsh wintry conditions loom.

Supply problems and a stormy winter have caused firewood shortages across the city.


Customers started queuing outside City Firewood on Johns Rd at 6am on Wednesday and were still queuing at 1.00pm.

Tempers were frayed in the 750-metre long line of traffic, with abuse hurled at one driver for jumping the queue.

City Firewood office manager Leanne Price said she expected to sell the entire supply of 220 cubic metres of firewood on Wednesday. She had served 250 customers by 1pm.

She said they would close on Thursday to dry more wood in their kilns and would reopen on either Friday or Saturday, depending on how much wood they could dry. She said it was harder to dry the wood in cold or wet conditions.

The yard had already been closed for three days this week after selling out of firewood on Saturday.

St Albans resident Adrian Allen queued for an hour on Wednesday morning to buy a boot load of firewood. He bought a bulk load of firewood in December, but ran out sooner than he expected. He now has to buy a boot load each week to keep his bungalow warm. He only runs his fire in the evening, instead of all day, to make his supply last.

“I have had a log burner since 1984 and I have never known them to run out of wood.”

Demand for firewood spiked in May when winter arrived early, bringing windy, wet and cold weather to New Zealand. The weather did not improve in June and July, with snow storms, heavy rain causing floods, and many nights dipping to minus 3 degrees Celsius.

The harsh winter is set to continue this week with MetService forecasting heavy rain in Christchurch on Thursday and Friday.

City Firewood owner John Harris said supplies were lower this year because old logging machinery slowed down work over summer. New logging machinery had now been purchased.

He said they could not dry the firewood in their kilns fast enough to keep up with demand.





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