By Māori for Māori forest harvest begins

By Dean Nathan
  • Northland

‘By Māori for Māori’ That's the focus for the people of Te Māhurehure today at a ceremony to fell the first tree in the pine forests being harvested on Māori lands in the Waima district.  Their aim is to keep the majority of the value and benefits from the industry in the district. 

Te Mahurehure has waited nearly 26 years for these pine trees to grow with the first job today, determining which will be felled first.

Andy Sarich says, “When we were kids, working in the bush was also the livelihood back then, but it's a different forest now from our time and these pines are the future for our people.”

The project is a joint venture between Taitokerau Forests Limited and Whakatere ki Koranui Trust. It's the beginning of the harvesting of over 700 hectares of pine on Māori lands in the Waima district. 

With a current world-wide shortage of softwood on the market, it's seen as a perfect time for harvesting pine with an estimated $25 million value placed on this job alone.  The employment of local contractors and workers will see the majority of that value and benefits remaining in the district.

Secure employment means a future livelihood for the people of this community.