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Opportunities from trees

Dougal Morrison, New Zealand Tree Grower August 2023.

The NZFFA ran some pilot forest extension workshops in 2022, funded by Te Uru Rakau – New Zealand Forest Service. After some very positive feedback the NZFFA were asked to run 18 more workshops around New Zealand. They were again targeted at land owners who were not currently planting trees.

The workshops were to provide an opportunity for land owners to learn about growing trees for timber, for protecting their land and for storing carbon.They were also about the benefits of planting different tree species and how they help fight climate change, provide shade and shelter, reduce erosion and improve water quality.

Good feedback

The programme of workshops this year started on 9 May in Amberley and continued until 22 June with the final one in Taupo.There were 18 face-to-face workshops, seven in the South Island and 11 in the North Island, and one virtual on-line workshop.The pairs of presenters were either Howard Moore and Egon Guttke or Hamish Levack and Vaughan Kearns.

In addition, a local NZFFA member provided their farm forestry story at the start of each workshop.

A total of 665 people registered and 448 attended.

Of those who attended, 296 were the target audience of land owners who were not currently planting trees or professional advisors. One of the aims of the workshops was to support the roll-out of the Te Uru Rakau – New Zealand Forest Service advisory service.There were advisors at each of the workshops who were able to let the participants know about the new forest advisory service and to talk to them about it.

Feedback from those who attended was very positive. Some results of the feedback are included in the graphs, indicating that carbon credits, species choice and native trees could have received more emphasis.

The virtual workshop was not planned initially.

However, some of those who registered indicated that they could not attend in person, so we thought it would be valuable to organise an on-line workshop. Although 85 people registered, 35 were recorded as taking part on the day.

Significant support

We had very good support from a number of rural organisation networks to promote the workshops.These included –

  • Federated Farmers
  • Beef and Lamb NZ
  • Landcare Trust
  • NZ Association of Resource Management
  • Regional council land managers group
  • Te Uru Rakau – New Zealand Forest Service
  • AgFirst
  • Rural Women New Zealand
  • School of Forestry graduates
  • Tanes Tree Trust
  • Nga pou a Tane
  • NZ Country Trails
  • Te Tumu Paeroa (the Office of the Maori Trustee)

A few catchment groups, identified by regional councils, also helped to promote the workshops.

In May 2022 we held one of the pilot workshops in Bulls and another was held there in the latest series. At the second one there was a bigger audience than in 2022.The conclusion could be drawn that people who have attended one workshop advise relevant friends in the same district that they should not miss the opportunity to participate in another one.This is additional evidence that the workshops have been a success.

The time frame to organise the workshops was a bit constrained for a variety of reasons.This meant it was difficult to promote them sufficiently for those scheduled for the first week. As a result, two workshops were cancelled because the numbers registering was quite low. If further workshops are organised, greater lead time is critical. Earlier involvement with NZFFA branches and regional councils would also be beneficial.

The presenters Howard Moore, Egon Guttke, Hamish Levack and Vaughan Kearns did an excellent job.We got some very positive feedback. One example was from Cherie Rangiahua from Te Uru Rakau – New Zealand Forest Service, who said ‘Howard and Egon are just brilliant presenters their passion and enthusiasm kept us engaged from start to finish.’Well done.

Thanks also goes to the NZFFA branch members who helped to organise the venues and identified local speakers. Discussions about the opportunity to hold more workshops are now taking place.

Dougal Morrison was the workshop convenor and is a co- opted member of the NZFFA Executive.


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