Kauri Forestry purchases Lagoon Hill Station

Kauri Forestry LP, a forestry business built, managed and governed by Craigmore Sustainables, has purchased Lagoon Hill Station in Wairarapa.

Lagoon Hill Station has some 1,400 ha of established Pinus radiata forest and 2,000 ha of effective pasture for farming sheep and beef.

Craigmore Sustainables, a New Zealand owned and operated business that builds and manages New Zealand food and fibre businesses, has committed to planting at least a further 1,300 ha of hill country into forest, leaving an operational farm of 500-600 hectares.

“Kauri Forestry LP is a forestry business built and managed by Craigmore Sustainables with European partners who are committed to being long-term passive investors with sustainability objectives,” says Che Charteris, chief executive of Craigmore Sustainables.

“Our partners in Kauri Forestry LP have more than 300 years of experience in multi-use sustainable forestry.”

Lagoon Hill will be managed under the global forest management benchmark of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification, he says.

“FSC Certification provides a robust global framework for forest management and for social and environmental governance. Craigmore Sustainables aims to gain FSC Certification for the Lagoon Hill property within the first 36 months of ownership, which will require the upskilling of the appointed local forest management company.

“However, as New Zealand governors, we will go much further than FSC and operate Lagoon Hill at an even higher standard.”

Craigmore has developed a blueprint to improve Lagoon Hill, including:

  • Better integrating forestry and farming by retaining 500-600 ha of the property around the woolshed and buildings in farming, continuing to farm other areas as the remaining area is planted over 2-3 years, and making the forested areas available for livestock grazing once the trees are well-established
  • Protecting and enhancing biodiversity and freshwater quality by establishing 30m wide native plantings alongside permanent waterways that run through the property, and rehabilitating degraded wetlands. This will require approximately 60,000 to 100,000 native trees to be planted
  • Providing existing areas of indigenous species with a greater level of pest protection through more intensive pest management
  • Enhancing social benefits by spreading forest management and harvesting activities over longer time periods in order to provide for more stable and local full-time employment opportunities
  • Reducing the risk of post-harvest erosion by spreading harvesting over longer time periods and wider areas
  • Further engaging with tangata whenua to identify and protect important sites
  • Creating opportunities for bee-keepers and for local tourism operators; and
  • Actively seeking opportunities for public enjoyment, after the forest is properly established, such as mountain biking and hiking for nearby communities and Wellingtonians, as we have seen in forests near Rotorua.

“As an owner and manager of farms, orchards and forests, Craigmore Sustainables understands first-hand the tricky matrix of manaaki, kaitiaki and economic issues associated with converting from one land-use to another,” says Mr Charteris.

“However, Craigmore also cares deeply about the existential threat that climate change is to our economy, environment and society.  The reality of climate change is undisputed. Carbon sequestration through tree planting is one of the most cost-effective and readily available tools with which to address climate change.

“Tree planting that supports carbon sequestration and production forestry can also be a significant contributor to our economy. Forestry as an industry currently contributes over $6 billion in export income per year and directly employs approximately 20,000 people.

“However, like all primary sector activities, forestry also needs to improve.  The sector needs to work harder to add more value to our local communities and further reduce the environmental impact of harvesting.”