Māori forestry interests Northland-wide are seeking a high level strategy to retain more value and benefits in the region. This was the focus of a very important meeting in Moerewa today.
Local foresters and land owners at the gathering are of one mind that the time of exporting whole logs overseas has passed.
Pita Tipene says, “All the value and the money goes with the logs when they should be milled right here to provide employment for our people here and income for this region.”
The thinking here is that it's time for Māori interests across the region to collaborate for the benefit of everyone.
Kerei James says, “It's about developing a strategy where the land owners will actually receive some benefit. And it's a daunting task but with perseverance we will achieve it.”
Forestry covers large areas of Māori land from Auckland north many have said these lands are still under leasehold to foreign interests.
“The outcome of this hui is that control must remain here and that was one of the major points, but we'll see this afternoon, after nominating a group of people who can get this issue moving forward,” says Pita Tipene.
Those in support of this plan believe regardless of the hurdle, they must begin.