Iwi buys West Coast forests from Crown

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Ngāi Tahu Forest Estates has bought 22,800 hectares of Crown forest cutting rights on the West Coast. The forests, bought under a first right of refusal dating back to Ngāi Tahu’s 1997 Treaty Settlement, are on 49,300 hectares of land owned and managed by Ngāi Tahu Forest Estates. Ngai Tahu Forest Estates is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ngai Tahu Property.

Poutini (West Coast) Ngāi Tahu chairs Paul Madgwick  and Francois Tumahai  welcomed the announcement.

“We are pleased Ngāi Tahu Forest Estates has decided to expand their investment here,” says Te Rūnanga o Makawhio Chair Paul Madgwick. “It’s good news for the region.”

“It is a commitment to the West Coast, its people and its business,” added Francois Tumahai, chairman of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae.

Ngāi Tahu Property chair Barry Bragg says combining the forest and land investments under single ownership and management makes sense. “We wish to continue the work initiated by Crown Forestry to create and maintain a profitable commercial forestry business.

“The maintenance of a viable and sustainable West Coast forest and wood processing industry is aligned with the commercial and social interests of Ngāi Tahu. However, our long term ownership of these assets will depend on the performance of this investment against the wider cultural, social, economic and values framework held by the iwi.”

Ngai Tahu Forest Estates will establish relationships with existing customers and suppliers and anticipates harvest will increase by at least 10% in the coming years, says  Edwin Jansen, general manager of Ngāi Tahu Forest Estates.