Hancock and iwi partner in totara planting

21 April 2015

A Maori Trust will be planting clusters of tōtara trees on blocks in Kinleith forest, in a collaborative project with Hancock Forest Managers and Scion.

Environmental advisor for theRaukawa Charitable Trust Trust Phil Wihongi said the plantations will form the basis of a sustainable timber resource for cultural uses including carving, waka and the construction and maintenance of marae. With Scion's help Wihongi hopes the project will provide a model for other iwi to pick up and apply in their own areas. 

A mānuka nurse crop will be planted in July on one of the project sites ahead of planting tōtara in three years time. This will force the tōtara to grow straight and clear trunks as they compete with the mānuka for the light and space. Initial planting will be at a density of 1100 trees per hectare, with maturity in 120 years' time.

Hancock environment manager Sally Strang said the company will help financially and with knowledge. "We will also assist in partnering in some of the planting costs, and in-kind assistance preparing the land and planting."

It's not the first time both Hancock and Raukawa have worked together.

"The tōtara project aligns with many of the Forest Stewardship Council [FSC] Principles which Hancock is committed to and Scion's participation in the project will provide the forest research agency an opportunity to advance its understanding of tōtara's potential as a plantation species."

Story by Caitlin Wallace, South Waikato News >>