Your Christian KiwiSaver Scheme is unique in having direct investment in a pine forest in the southern Hawkes Bay, Hapua Forest.
Just like KiwiSaver, forestry is a long-term investment with a typical forest usually taking some 25 years to mature. Our forestry land value has soared in recent times as investors have come to realise the ability of forestry to provide a carbon offset.
We’ve almost completed harvesting our first crop which was planted as seedlings in 1992-1993 and since 2018 we’ve been steadily replanting our land. So far over 300,000 seedlings have been planted. The next photo shows an area of seedlings planted in 2018.
Replanting in 2020 faced some obstacles with COVID-19 affecting the availability of labour and the Hawkes Bay drought delaying replanting. Some of the forest land is also not suitable for replanting, we don’t plant along the banks of the waterways and there are areas of native bush that we wish to protect and leave to regenerate. See the photo below of an area of retained native bush.
In our October 2019 article, we mentioned that we source our seedlings from Murrays Nurseries Woodville. Seedlings are ready for planting when 25–30 centimetres tall and are mainly planted by hand. It’s labour intensive and done by skilled teams. The number of trees planted per hectare can vary from 600 to 1,400.
Radiata pine was first introduced to New Zealand in the late 1850s to see if it would be a good candidate for widespread planting. Its excellent growth rate prompted seed imports from California in the 1870s, mainly for shelterbelts and woodlots. By the first forestry planting boom in the 1920s and 1930s, it had been adopted as the species of choice.
It proved to be versatile and grew well throughout New Zealand on a variety of soil types, including coastal sands, heavy clays, gravels and volcanic ash deposits.
Logging is a big deal in New Zealand. It is our third largest industry after dairy and meat.
A third of the world’s radiata forests are grown in New Zealand, with Australia and Chile being other major producers. New Zealand now has 1.75 million hectares of planted forest, of which some 90 percent is radiata pine, much in first rotation forests. These forests cover around 7% of New Zealand, which’s about the same area as 10 Stewart Islands. A substantial part of New Zealand (24%) is also covered in indigenous (native) forest.
There are other articles on Hapua Forest in February 2019 and October 2019.