Lake Taupō Forest has a planted area of around 23,000 hectares, and is effectively made up of two parts:
Lease Forest: (4,000 ha planted) - this is the remaining first rotation forest on land which is leased to our partners the Crown (represented by Crown Forestry Ltd – a subsidiary of the Ministry of Primary Industries); and
Trust-owned forest: (19,000 ha planted) - this is mainly second rotation forest on land which has come out of the above lease, but also includes 1,800 ha of plantation forest which has been established by the Trust itself on a mixture of Maori land and general freehold land.
The forest was begun in 1969, when the Trust signed a lease with the Crown. Under this arrangement the Trust provided the land and the Crown provided the funding and expertise to establish and manage a forest on the lands. The profits (“stumpage”) are shared on a ratio relative to each party’s contribution. The lease is now finishing, and as the first rotation trees are harvested, the land comes out of the Crown lease and is replanted by the Trust using its share of the first rotation profits. In this way the Trust increases its fully-owned area by around 900 ha per year. It is scheduled that by 2021 all of Lake Taupō Forest will be Trust-owned, and harvesting of the second rotation will commence. The age-class structure of the forest is presented below.
The forest is mainly Pinus radiata, nearly all of which is pruned and thinned with the aim of producing a high quality tree crop. The trees are grown on a 30 year rotation. The forest is being harvested at a level of 510,000 m3 per annum; a rate which can be sustained until the end of this rotation in 2021. Once we start harvesting the second rotation trees in late 2021 we will have to reduce production for about 5 years as we will not have enough mature trees to maintain the current harvest level through the initial years. The logs produced are sold to a wide range of mills, with between 30 per cent and 35 per cent being exported in log form.
Lake Taupō Forest is managed by NZ Forest Managers Ltd, a privately owned forest management company which undertakes contract management of forests. NZ Forest Managers is based in Tūrangi and has a long history with this forest. Their work is overseen on behalf of the Trust by Lake Taupō Forest Management Limited. The Trust is happy to have these proactive and dynamic companies involved in the management of its forest.
Other Forest Investments
The Lake Taupō Forest Trust, together with its sister Trust the Lake Rotoaira Forest Trust, have invested in two other forests – one on Opepe Farm Trust lands and one on Hautu Rangipo Whenua land. Each of these forests is owned 70% by LTFT and 30% by LRFT, and in each instance the Forest Trusts’ investment has been made through their jointly owned subsidiary company Lake Taupō Forest Management Ltd (LTFM).
Opepe Forest has a planted area of 1,450 hectares, planted between 2007 and 2013. LTFM has a one-rotation Forestry Right (essentially a lease) to use the land for this forest, and pays the Opepe Farm Trust an annual rental. Harvesting is expected to happen in the late 2030s.
The forest on the Hautu Rangipo Whenua lands is called Kaimanawa Forest. The forest currently has an area of 760 hectares, planted in 2015 and 2016. Kaimanawa Forest will eventually total around 5,500 hectares, as in addition to 1,500 hectares of new planting, LTFM will replant the existing 4,000 hectare forest (owned by Australian investment company New Forests Ltd) as they progressively harvest it over the next 30 years. LTFM has a two rotation Forestry Right over this land, and pays the landowner (Hautu Rangipo Whenua Ltd) an annual rental. Harvesting is scheduled to commence in the mid-2040s.
Lake Taupō Forest Management
Lake Taupō Forest Management Ltd (LTFM) acts as the Trust’s forestry adviser. LTFM is 70 percent owner by the Lake Taupō Forest Trust, with the other 30 per cent owner by the Lake Rotoaira Forest Trust. LTFM’s role is to ensure that all the land and forestry management work is done to the Trust’s satisfaction and to agreed standards, and to explore a range of related development opportunities and strategies, including forest expansion, downstream marketing and processing opportunities, and ensuring a smooth transition from our current Crown Lease arrangement through to full forest ownership.
In addition to its role on LTFT and LRFT lands, LTFM is the vehicle through which the two Forest Trusts have made investments in:
LTFM has a 60.5 per cent share of Hautu Rangipo Whenua Ltd – the company which purchased around 8,500 hectare of Corrections lands plus the adjacent 650 hectare Mangamawhitiwhiti Farm. As 70 per cent shareholder in LTFM, the Lake Taupō Forest Trust therefore owns a 42.4 per cent share of Hautu Rangipo Whenua Ltd, and the Lake Rotoaira Forest Trust an 18.1 per cent share. The other shareholders in HRWL are the Carbon Farms Ltd (a subsidiary of the Tūwharetoa Settlement Trust), Oraukura 3 Incorporation, Puketapu 3A Incorporation, and Waihi Pūkawa Trust.
LTFM also holds a 1,450 hectare forest lease on Opepe Farm Trust lands, and a (currently) 760 hectare forest lease on Hautu Rangipo Whenua Ltd lands (‘Kaimanawa Forest’). Kaimanawa Forest will eventually expand to around 5,500 hectares. Again, the Lake Taupō Forest Trust owns a 70 per cent share in these two forests, and LRFT a 30 per cent share.