Government supporting wood processing jobs and more diverse industry


The Government is supporting non-pine tree sawmilling and backing further job creation in sawmills in Rotorua and Whangarei, Forestry Minister Peeni Henare said.

“The Forestry and Wood Processing Industry Transformation Plan identified the need to add more diversity to our productions forests, wood products and markets,” Peeni Henare said.

“Local sawmills that specialise in using non-pine trees develop amazing, high-value, products and play a key role in our rural communities. If Government partners with these smaller wood processors, we can help grow the industry, and over the long term reduce reliance on pine forests for some products.

“A new Te Kōtuku Fund will co‑invest with small-scale processors to lift productivity and capacity and create more local jobs.

”Boosting onshore processing of non-pine tree species is critical for diversification. It will help forest growers have greater confidence in demand for the non-pine tree species they grow. It will also give architects, builders, and homeowners greater confidence in supply when specifying special-purpose timber in their projects.  

“It’s exciting. Te Kōtuku Fund will also help unlock co-investment opportunities for Māori communities to process their forestry resources into timber for use in papakāinga and for sale to the market,” Peeni Henare said.

The Government is also providing loans to two companies through the Wood Processing Growth Fund to help grow domestic wood processing by up to 72,000 cubic metres.

“Astro Pine NZ Limited of Ngongotahā, Rotorua, makes high-quality products by planing and finger-jointing low-grade timber into mouldings such as architraves and window frames. The loan will enable them to expand output on their existing site by 15,000 cubic metres per year,” Peeni Henare said.

“The expansion is expected to create 10-15 new jobs and local sawmills will benefit from increased demand for sawn timber.  

 “Rosvall Sawmill Limited of Whareora, Whangārei, makes timber products for residential and industrial construction. The loan will co-finance a state-of-the-art treatment facility, enabling them to scale-up processing by 42,000 cubic metres of logs per year, and will initially create 3 more full time jobs on site and facilitate considerable total growth for the period ahead.

Over the next few years this growth will lead to approximately 8 new jobs being created in our company.

“The loans are to be matched by 50 percent co-funding from the businesses. 

“Both investments are examples of how the Government is committed to partnering with wood processors to boost productivity and create more high-value, long-lived wood products for domestic and export markets.  

“We want to process more logs onshore and help move our forestry sector from volume to value. This is a key part of our economic plan to support Aotearoa New Zealand to become a high value, low emissions economy that provides economic security in good times and bad,” Peeni Henare said.

Notes to editors:

Te Kōtuku Fund will be open to wood processors to process up to 15,000 cubic metres of logs per annum of non-pine trees, such as other exotic trees or native trees legally harvested under the Forest Act 1949.  Eligibility criteria will be similar to those of the Wood Processing Catalyst Programme, with some additional flexibility to recognise the unique circumstances of small-scale processing. Te Kōtuku Fund will open for applications in November 2023. 

Wood processors looking to expand or upgrade, and interested in partnering with the Government on feasibility studies, business cases and capital investment, can find out more information here: Wood Processing Growth Fund.