Concerns over unlawful activity on Ngāi Tahu Forestry land

Jul 14, 2020

There has been a noticeable increase in unlawful rubbish dumping, unauthorised tree felling, and other illegal activity on West Coast forestry land owned by Ngāi Tahu Forestry.

Forest Managers are spending increasing amounts of time and money removing rubbish unlawfully dumped within some forests and finding more and more instances of unauthorised cutting and removal of trees from the forest estate.

Ngāi Tahu Forestry West Coast Operations Manager Chris Calder says the increase is alarming.

“This is concerning from both an environmental position and from a health and safety perspective. We’ve seen numerous instances of tree felling having been undertaken in an unsafe manner that could potentially lead to serious harm, if not fatal injury.”

Te Rūnanga o Makaawhio Chair Paul Madgwick says the surge in unlawful activity on Ngāi Tahu Forestry property shows a disregard for the land.

“Our Rūnanga is kaitiaki of this whenua and to have people thinking it is OK to dump their rubbish there is really disappointing.”

Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae Chair Francois Tumahai agrees.

“On top of people using our land as a dump, we’ve got people illegally entering private property to take firewood, and others cutting down trees for their own use, which is just an accident waiting to happen.”

Mr Tumahai added there is no need for the illegal activity.

Ngāi Tahu Forestry issues access permits to the public for recreational activities, such as hunting and hiking. As well as that there is firewood collection available and the company does not currently charge a fee for this.

The access permits are currently issued on a manual paper basis, however an online application process is being explored.

Mr Calder says the increasing breaches may force the company to tighten the restrictions on access to forestry land.

“While Ngāi Tahu Forestry does wish to maintain safe and reasonable access for recreational activities and firewood gathering, the increasing levels of dumping and unauthorised tree felling will force us to make changes that restrict access and seek to recover some costs involved in managing this access.”