Ngāi Tahu Forestry

Ngāi Tahu Forestry was established in 2000 when Ngāi Tahu Holdings Corporation purchased land subject to Crown Forestry licences. The Ngāi Tahu Forestry portfolio now comprises approximately 54,000 ha of land and forestry interests located in North Canterbury, Otago and the West Coast.

West Coast (Ha) Canterbury (Ha) Otago (Ha) Totals (Ha)
Plantation Forest 25,950 1,110 27,060
Other Forest Land 22,338 2,597 2,463 27,398
Totals 48,288 2,597 2,937 53,822


Our business activities include:

  • Forestry operations – harvesting and log supply to various domestic and export markets
  • Lease and access arrangements for mining and other activities
  • Carbon Forestry
  • Rural land development
  • Proseed NZ Limited – Production and supply of improved selective seed to the forestry industry and nurseries predominantly throughout New Zealand and Australia (Link to Proseed website

Forestry Operations

Management & workforce

Ngāi Tahu Forestry has entered into several forest management agreements with private forestry management companies. These agreements provide for the day-to-day management and supervision of planned harvesting and silvilcultural operations.

In turn the forest management companies employ staff and and engage forestry and logging contractors to plant, tend, and harvest the forests.

Over 100 people are employed by contract companies in our forests, mostly on the West Coast.


Ngāi Tahu Forestry currently harvest and market approximately 250,000m³ to 260,000m³ of logs per annum, up from 200,000m³ per annum when Ngāi Tahu Forestry purchased the forests from the Crown in September 2014.

The current level of harvest is considered to be sustainable.

Logs are sold to sawmills on the West Coast, Nelson and Canterbury, with the balance sold as export grade through the ports at Nelson and Lyttelton.  Approximate distribution of logs is as follows:

  • Domestic log sales – West Coast:    50%
  • Domestic log sales – Nelson and Canterbury:    20%
  • Export log sales – Ports at Nelson and Lyttelton:    30%

All land is replanted following harvesting and the typical annual planting programme is around 700 hectares on the West Coast and 600 hectares in Otago.

Most of the replanting has been with Radiata pine seedlings, though a small resource of Douglas fir has also been created on the West Coast.

Forest Stewardship Council ® Certification (FSC-C007525)

forest-estate3Ngāi Tahu Forestry is committed to managing the West Coast forest estate in a manner consistent with the principles and standards set by the Forest Stewardship Council®.

The FSC® principles and criteria detail the minimum standards of forest management required in order to meet important ecological, social, economic, and cultural values.

The forest estate was first certified in 2001 under the management of former owner Timberlands West Coast Ltd. The Certificate (SGS-FM/COC-000763) was reissued in 2006 and 2011 (under Crown Forestry stewardship), and more recently in 2016 following an independent inspection and evaluation against the FSC® Accredited National Standard for New Zealand.

Health & Safety

Ngāi Tahu Forestry is committed to providing a safe and healthy working environment that sets high standards for its managers and contract workforce.

Regular contractor meetings are held and contractors and their workers are encouraged to contribute. Ngāi Tahu Forestry and its management contractors actively manage hazards and keep abreast of improvements to health and safety management systems in order to reduce risk.

For example the contractors involved in harvesting operations, where the high risk hazards typically occur, are encouraged to mechanise their operations.  On the West Coast most of the logging crews are fully mechanised.

For further information on the Commercial Forestry Operation please contact Tony Smith, Forestry Manager: Ph: 021 925 605; email:

Carbon Forestry

Our aim to maintain and build carbon forestry for inclusion in the EMS.
Contact :  Edwin Jansen, General Manager Ngāi Tahu Forestry:
Ph: (03) 377 8268; email:

Forest Access for commercial activity


Alluvial gold mining – we provide access to forest areas where crops have been harvested for mining. There have been up to 15 mining operators from small (2 staff) to large (15 staff) throughout parts of the forest estate providing good employment and business in the region.

Telecommunications sites – hilltop sites can provide ideal locations for telecommunications networks and transmission. Various sites leased by telecommunications companies provide mobile phone coverage, a meteorogical station and mobile radio services.

Apiary operations – access permits are issued to reputable honey producers in certain areas of the estate.

Spagnum moss – access is allowed for the collection and harvest of spagnum moss where the resource is naturally found and is able to be harvested in a sustainable manner.

If you are interested in accessing Ngāi Tahu Forest Estate land for commercial activities please contact Jane Higgins, Project and Land Manager.

Tel (03) 371 2656; Email

Forest access for recreational use (West Coast)


The forests are open to the public, subject to an Access Permit and access restrictions near operational areas, for recreational activities which include:

Mountain-biking – use of the forests by mountain bike clubs, who build biking tracks for use by club members and specific events, and individuals who wish to use the network of existing roads and tracks.

Hunting – Access Permits may be granted for hunting in specific areas, subject to some conditions.

Firewood – Access Permits to gather firewood is allowed in specific areas, subject to some conditions.

If you are interested in accessing Ngāi Tahu Forest Estate forestlands on the West Coast for recreational purposes please contact our forest managers (PF Olsen Ltd) to discuss obtaining an Access Permit. Tel: (03) 768 6424; or email: