Outrage to Optimism – How will we respond?

4 December 2023

For many decades, plantation forestry has been one of the cornerstone industries in Tairāwhiti – our region has developed in parallel with the forestry sector.

There are challenges, which have been highlighted by major storm events in recent times. Not all land currently planted in Pinus radiata is suitable for plantation forest. Many of the decisions to create extensive plantation forests in Tairāwhiti were made decades ago as a reaction to the effects of historic land clearance.

In hindsight, these decisions have not always been in the best interests of the whenua or our communities, and in many cases, they have had unintended consequences for Tairāwhiti and its people.

We do not yet have the right trees in the right places, and the whenua and our communities have been damaged as a result.

But we are where we are – we must find a way to build our future whilst repairing the mistakes of the past. And we recognise we must do this together.
This Letter of Intent signifies a new direction for Council and the forestry sector in Tairāwhiti. It marks a break with the past, and an intention to work collaboratively to build the wellbeing of whenua and whānau while exploring sustainable economic opportunities.

I acknowledge that we have jointly developed an MOU between Council and the EWC and this is still critical to our working relationship. However, what I have heard from the sector is the need for additional and focussed collaboration that looks at broader land use solutions – which is what this Letter of Intent relates to…

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Nedine  Thatcher-Swann  | Chief Executive, Gisborne District Council