Canterbury's best arborists compete for spot at National Arborists' Association tree climbing competition

The best in the business of tree climbing gathered in Canterbury to compete in a profession many could only dream of.

They spent the day scaling trees to try and earn a spot at the National Arborists' Association tree climbing competition held later this year.

Tom Guy has been climbing trees since he was a kid. Now he does it as a job.

"It's this incredible balance of physics and botany and sport and art, because they're live structures, you're sculpting something that's alive," he said.

Perfect balance is not the only skill needed to be a good tree climber.

"It does take confidence and confidence in your ability. You've got to be familiar with the gear, it's quite technical," said NZ Tree Climbing Competition committee chairperson Craig Webb.

Today, seven arborists are competing in the regional masters event to try to get to nationals.

While it may look like they're playing in the trees, they're also protecting them.

"We're experts at the care of trees, looking after them making sure that they're safe and healthy," Webb said.

Arborists are in high demand. The profession is listed on Immigration New Zealand's regional skill shortage list, so the Government is trying to get more tree climbers into the country.

"It is like a sport and recognised worldwide. Arborists are in demand all around the world," said Bradley Guy.

The push was echoed by one of the best in the business.

"We need more arborists, we need more kids who want to climb trees and get paid for it really. Come join us," Tom said.

And you too could climb trees every day.