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Buy Good WoodRakau pai

Your guide to using Good Wood in Hawke’s Bay. Very dry wood, which burns hot with little smoke, will help your health, the environment, and save you money.

How to avoid a smoky fire

Good Wood BadgeSmoky fires pollute the air creating a health risk. They are also a sign you may be wasting your money by using more wood and getting less heat. When your fire is well underway, it should be hot and all you should see from your chimney is a thin wisp of smoke or no smoke at all.

An approved wood burner, when used correctly, produces very little air pollution inside and outside your home and is efficient to run.

Using Good Wood from a Regional Council approved merchant will also help – this is very dry wood which has been carefully managed to guarantee that it burns hot with little smoke.  So as well as helping your health and the environment it will, in the long run, save you money. 

What’s the problem with damp wood?

Burning damp wood means the fire is mostly used boiling the moisture out of the wood, and this is why there’s lots of smoke.  You are actually using up more wood for fuel to get the fire hot enough!  

Regional Council Approved Good Wood Merchants

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has approved the following Good Wood merchants.

Donovan’s Firewood, 06 878 4465,, orders@donavansfirewood

Woodstock 0800 966378,


  • Use only dry, seasoned fire wood from a reputable supplier.  It can cost more per cord, but you will use less of it to get more warmth into your home.  Dry seasoned firewood will have been correctly dried over a 2 years minimum period of management or dried in a kiln.  This careful management achieves a very dry wood that burns with a lot of heat. 
  • Go outside and check your chimney – you will see smoke when it’s first lit, but once the fire is well underway and hot, you should just see a shimmer of heat.
  • Don’t damp the fire down when you go to bed, as this increases the smoke as the fire smoulders.  Modern compliant units won’t allow this anyway.
  • Never burn treated or painted wood, or driftwood from the beach. It may be free but has hidden costs because burning releases harmful chemicals which will damage your burner and harm your health.
  • Put your rubbish in the bin, not in the fire.  Burning plastics particularly releases harmful chemicals, and it smells.
  • Have your wood burner and flue professionally checked and serviced each year before the winter begins.
  • Purchase your wood from an approved merchant.  It might cost more initially, but you will find the wood supply lasts longer as it will burn hot and you will use less of it.  Correctly dry wood has almost no bark on it and sounds hollow when knocked together 
  • If you chop your own or get wood locally, go for dense hardwoods than softwoods.  Collect wood 6-12 months before intended use.  Select wood which is already partially dry, that’s sound with no rot or excessive bark.  Split larger logs to assist drying and burning.  Stack fuel loosely in a dry place and cover the top and two sides so air can pass freely through the pile.
  • Use fuel in order - the oldest and driest first.
  • Always SAY NO to offers of treated or painted wood, or driftwood from the beach. It may be free but has hidden costs because burning releases harmful chemicals which will damage your burner and harm your health.

Useful Videos

How to tell if firewood is dry enough to burn 
How to light a fire
How to stack wood


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While every endeavour has been taken by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council to ensure that the information on this website is accurate and up to date, Hawke's Bay Regional Council shall not be liable for any loss suffered through the use, directly or indirectly, of information on this website. Information contained has been assembled in good faith. Some of the information available in this site is from the New Zealand Public domain and supplied by relevant government agencies. Hawke's Bay Regional Council cannot accept any liability for its accuracy or content. Portions of the information and material on this site, including data, pages, documents, online graphics and images are protected by copyright, unless specifically notified to the contrary. Externally sourced information or material is copyright to the respective provider.

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