Partnering with Northland iwi to grow forestry

Te Uru Rākau (Forestry New Zealand) will work with Ngāti Rēhia towards an agreement that will see the Crown establish a commercial forest on iwi land, Forestry Minister Shane Jones announced today.

“It’s great news that Te Uru Rākau, and Ngāti Rēhia are committed to work towards a commercial forestry rights agreement following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the parties,” said Shane Jones.

“Through the Provincial Growth Fund, we’ll also invest $288,000 to explore the establishment of a kauri sanctuary – free from kauri dieback – on about 45 hectares of sheltered Ngāti Rehia land.

“Today’s announcement is another example of this Government pursuing genuine partnerships to support Māori economic development.

“An investment of this type would mean Ngāti Rēhia could receive income for the lease of the land and benefit from New Zealand Unit carbon credits that will be generated over the lifetime of the forest.

“The initial steps of the possible agreement will consider planting pine on 150 hectares of Ngāti Rēhia land near Kerikeri

“Ngāti Rēhia has a strong focus on investing in housing, health and education. Being able to make a return from their land will help the people of Ngāti Rēhia realise their economic aspirations.

“As for a potential kauri sanctuary, this would be one of the first studies of its kind to explore whether kauri, or other native species, could be successfully established in Northland and remain disease free.

“The project would provide the opportunity for research and control of kauri dieback in a contained plantation environment, while offering locals training and education opportunities in establishing and managing indigenous forests.

“When the Prime Minister spoke at Waitangi, she said this Government would turn the talk into action. I’m pleased that through forestry and our One Billion Trees programme, we’re forming genuine partnerships – relationships that begin at the negotiating table and the Crown upholding our commitments to Māori development,” Shane Jones said.