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NPFL forestry grows well

NGATI Porou Forestry Ltd (NPFL) manages interests such as Crown forests, private investor forests and the Ngati Porou Whanui Forests/Hansol NZ joint venture. Source: Gisborne Herald

Hansol is a South Korean conglomerate that provided the funds to establish and manage the forests. The 38 landowner blocks provided the land.

This joint venture consists of 38 forests, which cover 10,000 hectares.

“Our company is about sustainable land use which benefits our people,” said NPFL general manager Daniel Williams. “We are owned by the 38 blocks.”

NPFL was established in 1989 under a Te Puni Kokiri pilot scheme aimed at providing an alternative to pastoral farming. In 1989 and 1990, NPFL planted five pioneer pine forests.

After more than 25 years of growing forests, NPFL began its first harvest in 2014.

That harvest will continue for the next 15 to 16 years.

“Along with that come more jobs and more income for our region,” Mr Williams said.

“Along with that come more jobs and more income for our region.”

NPFL manages the Ruatoria and Tokomaru Crown forestry licence lands for Ngati Porou Holding Company (NPHCL).

The lands have been returned to Ngati Porou ownership under the Ngati Porou Claims Settlement Act 2012.

Ernslaw One Ltd is the licensee and pays an annual rental to operate its forest interests on these lands.

As Ernslaw One harvests its forests, it returns the lands to NPHCL and NPFL establishes forests owned by NPHCL.

A major landowner in Ngati Porou, NPHCL’s forestry interests grow each year as the licensee continues to harvest.

The land is returned and new forests are established which are owned by Ngati Porou.

“A lot of iwi have become significant forest land owners following their settlements however, they continue to lease their lands and let other organisations fully benefit from their lands,” Mr Williams said.

“There is a huge opportunity for iwi here and that is why Ngati Porou are establishing their own forests.”

NPFL collaborates with farm blocks under the Ngati Porou Holdings group.

“Forest planting makes sustainable use of land that is not good for farming and helps protect our sensitive soils.

“We want sustainable, optimal land use,” Mr Williams said.

The company deals in the log commodity trade, which is not a niche market.

“Transport costs kill profitability up here and not just in forestry. We are looking at how we can reduce these costs and/or add value to the logs.”

Collaboration with Ngati Porou Miere Ltd helps optimise forest land usage, according to Mr Williams.

“With Miere, we are looking at some of the settlement forests. After the lands are harvested, manuka, being a pioneer species, regenerates among planted pine,” he said.

“The manuka also regenerates in riparian areas and forest areas which are not replanted. This results in good manuka honey and oil yield.

“We are getting wood-based and food-based products from our forest lands and will continue to pursue this opportunity.”

NPFL has six employees with contract work involving 20 to 25 full-time equivalents.

“Staff and contractor numbers will increase as our NPWFL/Hansol JV forests near maturity. Our region will see the benefit of our founders’ foresight” Mr Williams said.