Clean-up in Tairāwhiti continues, as Aratu Forests regains access to its forests

Statement on behalf of Aratu Forests

30 MARCH 2023

Aratu Forests is providing an update after having regained access to its forests following severe weather events in Tairāwhiti, gaining a better understanding of the impacts of Cyclones Hale and Gabrielle.  

Chief Executive Neil Woods says what crews are seeing now is much more complex than first anticipated. 

“What we are seeing in our estate is that the roads and infrastructure to facilitate harvesting has been largely unaffected by the storm event, confirming again that the new standards adopted building that infrastructure is working. However, what has surprised us is the presence of several hundred hectares of slips of land holding 8 – 10-year-old trees – areas previously considered safe. 

“These crop losses are estimated to be well in excess of $10 million and will impact longer-term wood supply from some of our forests.” 

Aratu Forests has reopened an alternative route through their Waimanu Forest to connect homes at Riverside Road, establishing this link on Tuesday 28 March to allow for repair work on the road to commence.  

Neil Woods says the alternative road will be available for as long as residents need it.  

“It’s being managed in a safe, effective way to allow people to commute through as they need to. 

“This region is our home too, and we want to help the people around us in as many ways as we can after such catastrophic weather earlier this year.”  

Crews are also continuing to help clear woody debris on Paroa station at Tolaga Bay with a contracted ‘long-reach’ machine. Neighbouring properties at Paroa Road and Tauwhare Parae Road are also being worked on, with fence clearing and water blasting of silt from properties taking place.  

“There’s a lot for us to do, and we only have a finite number of machines and staff to help with this work. We are working hard to get to all properties in a timely manner.  

“We will keep working to clear woody debris and to help our neighbours if and when there is a need for us.”