New Forestry Service officially launched
THE GOVERNMENT HAS OFFICIALLY launched the new Forestry Service under its Maori name, Te Uru Rakau, and provided $15 million to kick-start the organisation.
The unveiling took place at a special ceremony in Rotorua last month, with recently appointed Associate Minister of Forestry, Hon Meka Whaitiri, saying the launch of Te Uru Rakau means that the New Zealand forestry industry will be future proofed.
“Today’s rebrand will create a new impetus for forestry in our regions, creating jobs and new skills and training opportunities in provincial New Zealand,” says Ms Whaitiri.
“In my new role I will make sure that Maori who want to use their land for forestry can, by establishing much closer partnerships between the Government and the Maori people. I have also been delegated all initiatives for afforestation in the Tairawhiti and East Coast area.
“I will also make sure that we develop a diverse, skilled and safe workforce. I also have a new role in championing and engaging women in the forestry industry.
“With this new responsibility for skills training, I hope to be announcing some Forestry Scholarships at Fieldays.”
The rebranded Forestry Service is being formed out of the Crown Forestry unit of the Ministry of Primary Industries and will play a key role in the government’s One Billion Tree planting programme over the next ten years.
Te Uru Rakau is to be based in Rotorua and will work closely with a new ministerial advisory group announced by Forestry Minister, Shane Jones, which will provide independent advice about the sector and how government and industry can work together to deliver outcomes for New Zealand.
The Forestry Ministerial Advisory Group is made up of ten forestry experts who will provide industry perspectives and advice to help meet New Zealand’s forestry goals, including the One Billion Tree programme.
“The group has been selected for their expertise in a wide range of disciplines that I believe are necessary to deliver New Zealand’s forestry goals,” says Mr Jones.
“They will provide direct industry perspectives on a range of topics, including research, commercial and conservation forestry, local government, farm-forestry, wood processing, education and research.
“The group will provide insights on the performance of the overall forestry system, along with advice on future trends, risks and issues.
“I have initially tasked the Forestry Ministerial Advisory Group to focus on supporting Te Uru Rakau to deliver the One Billion Trees planting programme.
“The group will be chaired by Dr Warren Parker, Chair of the New Zealand Conservation Authority and the former Chief Executive Officer of Scion and Landcare Research. Warren brings a wealth of knowledge and experience and is well-placed to chair the group.”
Others members are James Palmer (Chief Executive of Hawke’s Bay Regional Council), David Rhodes (Chief Executive Officer of NZ Forest Owners Association), Robert Green (CEO of Timberlands), Gina Solomon (of Ngi Tahu / Ngati Kuri and a Director of the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust), Henare Walker (General Manager of Summit Forests New Zealand), Dr Charlotte Severne (Chair of the Lake Rotoaira Trusts), Brian Stanley (formerly General Manager (Fibre) at Oji Fibre Solutions and WoodCo Chairman), Fiona Kingsford (CEO of Competenz) and Neil Cullen (President of the Farm Forestry Association).
The Forest Owners Association President, Peter Weir, says the Advisory group has the right mix of forest industry background and experience to take the industry forward into potentially vast expansion in the decades ahead.
“Government by itself can’t achieve planting an extra half million hectares of trees in the next ten years, and all segments of the industry have to work together to reach that target. It is clear that Shane Jones appreciates this,” says Mr Weir.
In particular, Mr Weir says the appointment of Warren Parker as the group’s chair will provide leadership with his crucial forest science, conservation and commercial experience. He also applaudes the strong Maori representation on the advisory panel, which he says represents recognition of the growing and crucial participation of Maori as landowners and forest workers..