Ngāti Hine graduates joining the forestry workforce

Forestry Minister Shane Jones is today celebrating the first graduates of a One Billion Trees training programme.

Ngāti Hine received $1.89 million to run a Mānuka training programme as part of a wider Joint Venture entered into with the Crown.

“Today, we’re celebrating the first tranche of trainees, aged between 15 and 52, to have graduated from this programme. Eighteen trainees have picked up forestry jobs with another two students entering into further forestry training,” Shane Jones said.

“This is an enormous success and one I know Ngāti Hine and the wider community will be incredibly proud of.

“The programme provided the opportunity for the recruits to gain skills in the forestry sector and then find employment. We need to see more of these initiatives around the country.

“We want a forestry sector where people can work safely because they are properly trained, and where they can expect to be decently paid.

“A further 20 trainees will go through the programme next year, following this year’s success,” Shane Jones said.

The One Billon Trees Fund provides funding to reduce the barriers to tree planting, including workforce development initiatives to help tackle the projected labour shortage and attract young people to the forestry sector.

“Forestry training programmes also make commercial sense and help foresters who are facing a skills shortage in the sector. The One Billion Trees planting programme is creating opportunities for employees and employers,” Shane Jones said.

“Training programmes like this one are consistent with the Government’s goal of developing a sustainable, domestic forestry workforce and I’m proud to be marking this occasion with the graduates today.”

Notes to Editor: 

The Ngāti Hine Forestry Trust is a Māori land trust, with approximately 5,600 hectares of land centred alongside the small rural towns of Moerewa and Kawakawa. The Trust has over 4,200 registered owners.

A joint venture between Ngāti Hine Forestry Trust and Te Uru Rākau was announced in May 2018. It included planting 3,600 hectares of pine trees in the far North and almost 500 hectares of Mānuka.