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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.

Keeping our air clean

We started the Good Wood scheme to improve air quality using education and local firewood merchants committed to providing dry wood. If wood isn't properly dried, it burns with less heat and produces lots of smoke, polluting the air and costing you more money. 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!  

When you choose a Good Wood merchant, you're opting for a trusted source of dry firewood that burns well, keeping your home warmer and our air cleaner. Good Wood merchants have to sell wood with a moisture content of below 25%.

What a good wood fire looks like

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. 

Regional Council Approved Good Wood Merchants

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

Chambers Woodyard Ltd

06 843 4077

Donovan’s Firewood

06 878 4465


JDS Firewood

027 299 1355

Pritchard Firewood

027 333 4874


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 denser hardwoods for a longer burn and use softwoods for kindling.  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.

Get the basics right, and you can have perfect firewood.

Perfect firewood has a moisture content of below 20 percent. Above that, wood in your firebox puts its energy into drying, not producing heat.

It also creates lots of smoke and a sticky creosote layer inside your flue. Research has found if you do it right by following steps, your fire will be more efficient.

  1. Cut wood to a length that fits easily into your woodburner or fireplace – the firewood in the research was at most 60cm long.

  2. Split the wood at least once – wood dries along the grain up to 15 times faster than across the grain.

  3. Ideally, store drying firewood in a ventilated shed; only put it in the sun if it’s not going to rain.

  4. Wood sitting on concrete, tarseal, or another solid surface dries significantly faster than wood on bare or vegetation-covered ground.

  5. Stack wood so there’s space for air to flow between the pieces. Orientation is important: shorter, narrower stacks dry faster.

  6. Stack wood away from buildings and trees, which block wind and breezes, decreasing the drying rate.

  7. Only cover the top of an outdoor stack when it’s drying. Test wood with a top cover took half as long to dry in a sunny, airy place as a completely covered stack.

  8. Allow sun and air to reach the sides of the woodpile to help dry the wood.

  9. Cover in autumn or newly dry firewood will soak up moisture again.

  10. By autumn, it’s too late to season green wood due to humidity and moisture levels; even in a dry shed, it’s unlikely to get below 30 percent moisture content.


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