15 Aug 2014

Crown still owns trees on Maori land

7:31 am on 15 August 2014

More than 14,000 hectares of trees on Maori land are still owned by the Crown, according to details released to Te Manu Korihi under the Official Information Act.

A view of the mountains Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro and forestry land near Lake Taupo.

One of the five largest remaining Crown forest leases on Maori land is near Lake Taupo. Photo: PHOTO NZ

For the past 25 years, the Crown has had a policy to get out of commercial forestry, saying the private sector and not the taxpayer should take on the financial and climatic risks of the plantations.

Since 1990, the Crown has managed to shift 35,000 hectares of forests, selling or surrendering the woods back to Maori entities that own the whenua.

But 14,100 hectares of Crown-owned trees remain on Maori land.

The Ministry of Primary Industries said in some cases the Maori land owner was happy to just lease the whenua and did not want to buy the trees.

The Ministry said several of the largest leases had been cut back from their original timeframes and the longest running lease, at Lake Taupo, was not due to end until 2082.

The five largest remaining forest leases were at Lake Taupo, Rotoaira near Turangi, Te Whaiti Nui A Toi in Bay of Plenty, Tokararangi on the East Coat, and Pouto in Northland.

The Crown also retained small areas of forest on Crown-owned land, which were subject to Treaty of Waitangi claims.