September 23, 2019
Billion trees project revives memories of Forest Service
There's an event at parliament this evening to mark the centenary of an institution that played a major part in Māori fortunes last century.
Forestry Minister Shane Jones says before it was wound down in the economic upheaval of the Rogernomics years, the New Zealand Forestry Service brought a lot of Māori land into production and provided employment for Māori communities throughout the country.
It was a mixed blessing for landowners, with many of them finding their land locked up under 99-year leases.
He says Māori forestry is undergoing a revival, with the majority of land set for planting under the billion trees initiative being Māori.
"The crown is finding there's a growing level of animus coming from the sheep and beef farming community. they don't want their land put into joint venture forestry. However Māori landowners who can never sell their land, they are flocking to the cause to ensure the best parts of the land remain available for productive purposes, but the whenua Māori for which there is no other economic purpose, put it into trees," Mr Jones says.
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