A Brief History of the Ngati Hine Forestry Trust

The following is a brief recital of the more salient events which have occurred and impacted on the Trust and its operations from 1968 till the present day.

 

1968 to 1972

Rates arrears with potential loss of land.
Amalgamation meetings (72 blocks).

1974

Creation of Trust by Maori Land Court with seven Trustees.

1975

Lands amalgamated.

1975 to 1980

Investigation of Forestry.
A lease with CHH is proposed.
Prolonged disputes amongst owners & Trustees.
Lease does not proceed.

1980

Maori Trustee appointed as Trustee with 5 advisory Trustees.

1981

Lease to CHH of approx. 85% of land. (1 rotation, 7% annual rental & 9% of stumpage from a sawlog regime). Initial annual rental of $80,580. Owners retained 555 ha at Matawaia to develop into forestry. Funded by TEP, PEP, FEG, loan moneys, tax incentives & rental from CHH lease. Trust borrowed $550,000 at low interest rates from MLB to fund part of the Matawaia Forest Development, fencing, survey, purchase of Crown shares & the purchase of extra land.

1984

Labour Govt. elected. Stopped FEG, PEP & tax incentives.
Interest rates & costs started to rise.

1985

Costs of forest development rising

1986

Eight owners selected Trustees replace the Maori Trustee.

1986

TFL created to fund & develop forestry on Maori land. Financed initially at $1.0 million per annum for 10 years. Ngatihine becomes a shareholder in TFL. TFL took over the development of Matawaia and paid an annual rental. Interest rates continued to rise.

1988

CHH annual rental increased to $97,376.

1987 to 1990

Dispute with CHH over interpretation of management objectives in the lease. Settled with creation of Trustees forest area (474.5 ha of which the Trust receives 100 % of proceeds at harvest).

1990

National Government elected.

1991

Govt. stopped funding TFL and charged high interest rates. Govt. called up the Ngati Hine Trust mortgage on the land. Trustees subsequently refinanced with Westpac.

1991 to 95

TFL sought alternative funding sources.

1993

CHH annual rental increased to $189,000.

1994

TFL proposed a Company float and a Forest Right Variation. This failed to eventuate and the variation lapsed. Trustees make an application to the Nga Whenua Rahui Fund. MLC increases the number of Trustees to nine.

1995

Name of Trust changed from Ngatihine Trust to “Ngati Hine Forestry Trust”.
MLC closes three roads and vests these in the Trust.
Nga Whenua Rahui application successful.
Negotiations with CHH over closed roads etc.
TFL paid for further silviculture at Matawaia.

1996

Nga Whenua Rahui Application injuncted. TFL successfully re-negotiates with Crown & produce a new package for owners. This is accepted by the Trustees. TFL completes silviculture at Matawaia.

1997

Tamati Paraone appointed as an honorary Trustee.
Debt with Westpac repaid and Trust is essentially debt free.
Trust resolves outstanding closed roads and other land issues with CHH for $60,400. TFL pays $134,600 to the Trust for the TFL forest right variation but held in trust pending completion of legal matters. Injunction against completing the Nga Whenua Rahui grant is lifted, but NWR payment still delayed.

1998

CHH annual rent increases to $343,000. NWR pays out $250,000 plus $78,000 (held in trust) for fencing. Charitable trust and native timber policy proposed. History project initiated and current ownership schedules, addresses etc. completed.

1999

Trust has substantial tax paid cash surplus and investigates alternate investment options.

1999

The Trust founds and funds the Ngati Hine Charitable Trust to address social and cultural obligations. Trust finally receives proceeds from the TFL restructuring grant. Cash reserves rise to $753,849. Early forest development costs from Motatau 1C9B1 are recovered. Native timber policy (ie, no more commercial extractions) adopted.

2000

Cash reserves rise to $860,200. Sale of 5,563 Trust owned shares in Ngatihine H2B to Murray Ward. Trustees actively involved with various CHH Hui. Charitable Trust makes first tertiary education, Marae & special needs grants (total $72,500).

2001

Trust Cash reserves rise to $1,010,000. Trustees focus on investment and strategic planning matters. History project implemented. Charitable Trust makes education, elderly, Marae & special grants of $113,354.

2002

Cash reserves rise to $1,114,000. Trustees investigate alternative investments including additional land purchase & a housing project. Trust runs two forest training courses in Moerewa with WINZ & Northland Polytech. Charitable Trust makes grants totalling $93,000.

2003

Cash reserves increase to $1.3 million. Trust moves to diversify its assets. A substantial housing application to HNZC is made. Trustees also propose to purchase non-forest investment properties. Trust runs a further two forestry training courses in Moerewa. Changes to the Trust order made to separate the corpus lands from investments.

2004

Iwi Housing Manager appointed to deliver HNZC Rural Housing Programme from Trust’s Moerewa Office. Trust established an administrative office in Whangarei & appoints an administrative manager. Three kiwifruit orchards in Kerikeri purchased. Ongoing negotiations with HNZC with regard establishment of a social housing portfolio.

2005

Review of Forest Rent increases rent to $400,400 pa. Purchased Zespri shares. HNZC loan agreement entered into to establish social housing portfolio.

2006

Purchased a fourth kiwifruit orchard (Ahuareka) in Kerikeri. Trust now owns a total freehold area of 35.75 ha with a canopy area in kiwifruit of 23.91 ha plus one house. Purchased and renovated eleven homes in Kawakawa & Moerewa for social housing utilising HNZC funding. Social Housing Coordinator appointed to deliver social housing services funded jointly by HNZC and MSD. Capital improvements made to Kiwifruit orchards. TPL4 purchases the CHH lessees interest in Ngatihine H2B and HFM becomes the forest managers.

2007

Purchased further Zespri shares bring total share holding in Zespri to 58,332 shares. Negotiation with HNZC for further funding to extend social housing portfolio. Purchased 3.2 hectares of gold kiwifruit licence to convert green to gold on Ahuareka Orchard. Negotiations with TPL4 and other parties with respect of a second forest rotation.

2008

Ongoing capital improvements to Kiwifruit orchards. Conversion of 3.2 hectares of green to gold kiwifruit on Ahuareka Orchard. Action underway to extend social housing portfolio utilising a second HNZC loan facility. MLC and High Court proceedings instigated against Hirini Manihera, Patrick Brown and Waiomio Downs Logging Limited to stop their illegal logging on Trust lands. Ongoing negotiations with various forest parties for a second rotation.

2009

Harvesting commenced with the first tree felled at a special ceremony on the 10th March 2009 on Te Ara Road, Ngapipito Road, an area planted in 1983. On going investigations with respect of a second rotation and lobbying of Government with respect of the impact on the Trust of the Emissions Trading Scheme. Negotiations to extend housing portfolio with new homes in Kaikohe advanced. Further capital work on kiwifruit orchards undertaken. Information Sharing Hui with owners held in May 2009.

2010

Harvesting continuing at an increased pace with 180.5 hectares of harvested forest land having been surrendered by the lessee to the Trust to date. Planning and deliberations with respect of a second rotation continued. The Emissions Trading Scheme was finalised by the Government in late 2009. The restructuring of the TFL debt to the Crown was completed in late 2009. The building of ten new homes in Kaikohe commenced in the later part of the year. These will be leased to HNZC for 15 years. A Zespri Gold 9 licence was acquired for .5 hectare being an initial start to converting the green kiwifruit on Te Tara Kowhai orchard. A review of the Strategic Plan was commenced which included a two day Trustees hui at Motatau Marae with invited owner presentation. An Information Hui for owners was held in May 2010.

2011

The Trustees completed their review of the Trust’s Strategic Plan 2010 – 2025 and a revised plan was approved on the 9th October 2010.

The Trust completed the building of the ten homes (eight two bedroom and two four bedroom) in Kaikohe in December 2010 and all of these have been leased to HNZC for fifteen years. The HNZC Rural Housing Programme which the Trust had been involved with for some eight years was terminated by the Government on the 31st December 2010.

The Trust’s four kiwifruit orchards continued to perform well. Psa (Pseudomonas syringae pv actinidiae) was discovered in November 2010 in the Bay of Plenty. To date Psa has not been identified above Auckland.

In December 2010 the Trust received its initial allocation of 104,972 New Zealand Units (NZUs) for the 4,564 hectares of the Trust’s pre 1990 exotic forest. The Trust sold all of these NZUs for $2,062,349.00. A further allocation of 168,868 NZUs is to be made to the Trust in 2013.

The kiwifruit orchards Westpac mortgage was further reduced by $1 million.

The lessee TPL 4 via their New Zealand agent HFM has continued to harvest the forest on both sides of the forest on Ngapipito Road with some 472 hectares of plantation forest land formally surrendered back to the Trust as at the 1st April 2011, and as at the 30th June 2011 the lessee had returned 581.7 hectares on land which includes reserves and non plantation areas.

As a consequence of the Emissions Trading Scheme and the inability to find at this time a second rotation joint venture partner or a new lessee the Trust was faced with the requirement to fund itself the re establishment of a commercial forest.

During the early part of the 2011 winter some 353 hectares was re planted in pinus radiata and a further 140 hectares (harvested in 2009) was released sprayed. The cost of this was $445,808.00 and was funded from the proceeds from the sale of the NZUs. A “first tree” planting ceremony was held on the 4th May 2011.

The Trust continued its involvement with a Joint Venture partner (Harvest Pro) operating one harvesting crew (Kaiwae Harvesting Ltd) within the Trust’s forest.The Trustees commenced a process to review the Trust Order. As a consequence of a Maori Land Court hearing with respect of a challenge to the outcomes of the 2010 Annual General Meeting election process by Marie Tautari the Court on 19th May 2011 instructed the Trust to apply to the Court for a review of the Trust under Section 231 of the Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993.

2012

The Trustees undertook a review of the Trust Order with a new proposed Trust Order being presented to the beneficial owners at both the 2011 Special General Meeting and at the 2011 AGM. The review of the Trust and the approval of a new Trust Order are still processes which are still progressing through the Maori Land Court.

The Trustees reviewed the Trust’s Strategic Plan and reaffirmed their objective to move from the “passive” investment of the Trust’s assets and in to an “active” management regime.

The Trustees appointed a new Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Rishworth to lead the implementation of the Trust’s strategic objectives. The new CEO replaces the Trust Manager role which had been filled for many years by Michael Corrigan.

Second rotation planting was carried out during the 2012 winter with a further 287.1 hectares established in radiata pine

2013

The Maori Land Court approved a new Trust Order for the Trust on the 22nd March 2013.

The Maori Land Court undertook a review of the Trust in terms of Section 231 of Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993 and a hearing with respect of this matter was held on the 22nd March 2013. Decision still pending at time of writing.

The lessee TPL 4 harvested 140,435 tonnes from the forest and to date the lessee has surrendered 1,107.6 hectares back to the Trust.

A joint venture partnership was formed with Kiwi Forestry International Ltd with respect of the harvesting and marketing of the TFL Matawaia Forest and to undertake a second rotation pinus radiata of this forest.

Considerable work and due diligence was commenced with the aim for the Trust to become involved directly within the manuka honey industry.

2014

Change in strategic direction from a passive management regime to a more active hands on approach and to move away from the current mono-culture pine forestry model to an alternative land use model (the Paparata Kaupapa) that is based on native plants and trees.

In November 2013 the Trust entered into a JV partnership with Kiwi Forestry International Ltd (KFIL) with respect harvesting of the first rotation and planting of a second rotation of the Matawaia forest area.

A trial manuka honey JV was successfully undertaken which resulted in two manuka honey joint ventures being established.

Te Tara Kowhai kiwifruit orchard was converted to a Turners and Growers A19 cultivar. In November 2013 the Trust entered into a JV partnership with Kiwi Forestry International Ltd (KFIL) with respect harvesting of the first rotation and planting of a second rotation of the Matawaia forest area.

The MLC Section 231 review of the Trust was concluded.

2015

The Paparata Kaupapa was advanced with research and analysis of the forest land being undertaken.

Harvesting of Matawaia continued and the planting of a second rotation pine crop within this forest was commenced.

Negotiations with TPL 4 to remove the Ruatangata Forest from the lease to TPL 4 was successfully concluded.

Negotiations with Housing New Zealand to restructure the housing portfolio loans with a more acceptable repayment regime were successfully concluded.

A Harvesting and Marketing Agreement was entered into with Northland Forest Managers (1995) Limited to manage the harvesting of the Ruatangata Forest.

Kaiwae Harvesting Ltd the KFIL JV partnership harvesting company was terminated on 31 October 2014.

Ahuareka Orchard was converted from Hort16 A to Gold 3.

2016

Stumpage Sale of the Ruatangata Forest crop to Aubade NZ was transacted.

All of the Trust's debts to both Housing NZ and Westpac were repaid.

A pilot trial of planting manuka was undertaken.

The Trust's manuka honey business was reviewed.

Harvesting and replanting of the Matawaia Forest continued.

Work undertaken on future land use options for Trust's forest estate.

Discussions held with TPL 4 regarding roading compensation liability.

Glossary of Abbreviations:

CHH - Carter Holt Harvey
TFL - Taitokerau Forests Ltd
MLC - Maori Land Court
NWR - Nga Whenua Rahui
TEP - Temporary Employment Scheme
PEP - Project Employment Scheme
FEG - Forest Encouragement Grant
HNZC - Housing New Zealand Corporation
TPL4 - Taumata Plantations Ltd
HFM - Hancock Forest Management NZ Ltd
MSD - Ministry of Social Development
KFIL - Kiwi Forestry International Ltd
NFM - Northland Forest Managers (1995) Limited

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