Elite Arboriculture crew and vehicles with Jade (second from left). Photo copyright Mark Coote.

Getting to know Jade from Elite Arboriculture: an arborist made in Paekākāriki

Jade Darbyshire from Elite Arboriculture has come on board as one of two principal sponsors of Paekakariki.nz. He tells how he became an arborist and why he chose to call Paekākāriki home.

I started my journey growing up farming in Taranaki. As I got older and more aware,  I became disillusioned with the ecological effects on our nearby awa and the cows themselves. I was the kid at school the teachers couldn’t understand and was always told I wouldn’t go far in life. Not surprisingly, I left school early.

I left Taranaki when I was young and started my gypsy journey travelling around the country and Oz doing seasonal work, looking for parties, and being a real lost soul. I met a lot of great people on my travels and learned a lot about myself and how I fit into the world.

I’ve been living in Paekākāriki for approximately 8-9 years now and it has been a time to put down some roots and address my imprinted patterns of how I operate in the world. It’s been a major time of growth and healing here and I appreciate having the space to do this. I came here to live closer to my youngest child and move from the hustle and bustle of the city. I suspected I would find a beautiful village woman, which I did!

I used to visit a good friend here and that’s when I fell in love with this village. I love living here – it’s an idyllic community and I enjoy being close to the beach. The feeling of safety this town brings, along with its strong sense of community and how we can let our kids roam without being fearful, is something I love.

I’ve been doing tree work for around fifteen years. Before that, I tried my hand at forestry, fruit tree pruning, and my own horticulture ventures.

I never viewed myself as being an arborist, or a businessman. But at a chance meeting, a friend recommended me to a mutual friend as a labourer in his tree work business and to support an arborist. Simon Palmer was his name and he is an exceptional master arborist with a zen attitude to peoples’ gardens and the life force of trees.

Simon soon realised that I would make an excellent arborist so he set about making me believe the same, and offered me an apprenticeship to become a climbing arborist. He was an amazing teacher with a lot of knowledge to share and such a perfectionist. I resented his training at the time as I saw it as more rigorous than my peers. But looking back I’m very grateful as he made me achieve excellence – he made me realise my own potential and worth.

I wasn’t interested in it but had a hard time saying no to Simon as he was so invested. He saw my potential where nobody else had. Little did I know that moment in time would be my defining moment as a businessman, and someone who looks to the future. Simon let me go when I was fully qualified and encouraged me to build my own clients stating it was the universe’s plan.

It’s been a natural progression from working as a contractor for Simon to building my own clients via word of mouth. Around 5 years ago I bought my first chipper, and not long after, I bought my first truck. Since then we have upgraded to a larger chipper and larger truck so we can run two teams and achieve larger-scale tree work.

A major help for me was when I met my mate, Nathan, here in the village, and together we nutted out the nuts and bolts of building a tree business. He helped me with the logistics while providing me a space to park all my equipment, even letting me stay in a caravan on his back lawn! Nathan engineered and painted the bins for the back of our trucks to hold mulch and helped me run the business when I was called away to look after my youngest child.

I’m very grateful to all who have allowed me the space here and I am looking to find a proper commercial yard space ASAP. I didn’t see myself expanding or getting off the tools but then I had to trust the universe and put my faith in those around me to help get me through.

Since then I’ve learned to put my trust in people and now have a professional team of arborists who achieve the same client satisfaction that Elite clients have been enjoying in the past. They are respectful, hard working, local guys with young families. We try to keep the ethos set by Simon where every tree is to be respected as a living being and every garden is to be respected like a shrine.

I’m proud of how far Elite has come in the last 10 years, from a man in a station wagon dropping off and leaving waste to a full-scale tree business doing work for the Council and securing commercial contracts. I keep my staff employed, and I’m able to donate to the wider community through many different avenues.

I decided to become a major sponsor of Paekakariki.nz because I like the community-minded aspect of the website and see the good causes they support.

I’m thankful for the continued support of our clients and friends, and all the joy this community has to offer.

Thank you Paekākāriki!