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Newsletter 131, April 2021

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For more information on these events, they are posted on the NZFFA website »
Branch secretaries, please make sure you notify head office of any branch or action group events.

  • Combined Field Day at Marotiri  Theme for the day: Tree solutions for Dairy. Friday 7 May 2021 10.00am – 3.00PM   1845 Tihoi Road – Highway 32, Northern Taupo   This is to invite you to…
  • Forest Biosecurity Conference 2021  Ka mua, ka muri: Looking back to move forward To reflect on the forest biosecurity journey and what has been achieved to date to help guide our way forward. When: 12…
  • Taranakipine Forest Owners Open Day  Thursday 13 May 2021, 1pm to 4 pm • 32 Hudson Road, Bell Block Come and see how we process regionally grown Radiata Pine into solid wood and engineered timber…
  • Gisborne East Coast Branch Field Day -Manuka Plantation  Wednesday 19 May 2021 Bill Savage’s manuka plantation at Ahititi, rapid no 3028, Waimata Valley Road, Gisborne. Meet 9.30am end of Uttings Rd and go up in convoy as there are…
  • Invitation to Celebrate Mary Sutherland Biography  You are invited to join the Celebration of Vivien Edward's biography of Mary Sutherland 5pm Thursday 3 June 2021 Eastwood Cafe, Scion Research, end of Titokorangi Drive, Rotorua. Open Invitation…


NZFFA members can set up their own blogs on the NZFFA website. Email Dean.


Reports (Members Area)

Combined Field Day at Marotiri

10.00am – 3.00PM Friday 7 May 2021 
1845 Tihoi Road – Highway 32, Northern Taupo 

Theme for the day: Tree solutions for Dairy. This is to invite you to an important all sector field day that explores the use of trees to  solve some of the issues Dairy farmers are facing. It demonstrates a forward-looking Dairy  farm that is currently addressing four issues: 

1. Harvesting issues and opportunities with mature woodlots planted along streams, view the harvest operation occurring now, is this approach to riparian  management successful, what are the issues? 

2. Riparian planting – 3 types will be demonstrated - with natives, edge  planting exotics, and for timber production – what has worked, what has not, what  suits by site type? 

3. Shelter and amenity planting on poorer pasture areas – why? what locations? what species? 

4. Offset forestry to address GHG emissions - why, where, and how? 

This day is organised by the combined Farm Forestry Association branches from BOP, Taupo  Districts, and Waikato. We are collaborating with Dairy organisations to make this a great  day and will be open to all interested in the rural sector. 

Please bring lunch, a drink, and robust footwear, plus warm clothing (500m elevation).  

The field day location is in the district of Marotiri and is located 18kms south of  Whakamaru. The driveway entrance will be marked with a Farm Forestry Field Day signs. 

Please RSVP to Viv Barr


Harvesting the benefits of LiDAR: The New Zealand National Elevation  Programme and Forestry. 

A National Elevation Programme currently being carried out by Toitū Te Whenua Land Information  New Zealand (LINZ) in partnership with Regional Councils aims to make available a consistent, high  quality baseline elevation dataset for all of New Zealand within the next few years. The power of this  dataset lies in its ability to provide a deeper understanding of our landscape through higher  resolution mapping across the regions. The impending availability of this data is expected to unlock  new opportunities in many industries such as forestry and agriculture.  

This programme will deliver three datasets generated after capture is complete. These are:  

• 1m gridded bare earth Digital Elevation Model (DEM/DTM) 

• 1m gridded Digital Surface Model (DSM) 

• the classified point clouds.  

To promote greater visibility of information for existing and future elevation datasets, LINZ has  released an interactive map that allows people to easily search for the most up to date information  relating to when data will be available for their area of interest. For data that is already available,  links are provided that point to where the data can be accessed for free via open licence on LINZ  Data Service (for the DEM and DSM) or Open Topography (for the point clouds). 

The map along with additional resources can be accessed via the following link: 

Why this data is valuable to forestry: 

LiDAR’s ability to separate ground and above ground features makes it extremely useful. It improves  the accuracy of forest information and assists in the monitoring and management of inventory and  planning of forest activities, all without having to leave the office. Using LiDAR to optimise the  density of planted forests has been estimated to potentially increase the net value of New Zealand forests by around $2,320 per hectare. Improved management of plantations through more precise  information would also have a positive flow-on effect to the entire forestry supply chain, greatly  benefiting many regional businesses. 

Example use cases: 

Port Blakely Ltd. uses DEM LiDAR to generate high resolution slope classification surfaces to  strategically plan their harvest operations, fullfil WorkSafe requirements and ensure NES-PF compliance. This information is also easily accessed by contractors in the field and allows infrastructure to be built to better standards and at lower costs.

Pictured here is a detailed slope map derived from LiDAR, which helps determine the best harvest  method for an area. Image credit: Port Blakely Ltd

A Canopy Height Model (CHM) derived from the difference between DSM and DEM is also used to  accurately represent the height of trees and vegetation density in an area above ground level. The  information helps with ‘tree thinning’ operations to optimise growth of the overall forest.

Pictured here is a canopy height model of a forest area. Image credit: Port Blakely Ltd

Future potential: 

Analysis by Scion has found that nationwide DEMs have the potential to set a useful baseline for the  application of other exciting technologies in forestry such as satellite photogrammetry and InSAR for  the continued cost-effective management of forest inventory.  

From a two year research program, Scion has also developed methods to estimate forest yield for  small to medium-scale forest plantations using this technology. These methods could then be  deployed at a national level once the data is available.  

To ask a question or provide feedback, please contact


A new Future for NZFFA - How do we present NZFFA to new members?

Opinion Piece from John Channings

What needs to be done to reinvent the NZFFA organisation into one that attracts new membership and in particular lifestylers?

I think the first priority is to turn the organisation from being an inward looking one to an outward looking one. This distinction would not have made sense in Neil Barr’s time but with the advent of the internet, communicating out into cyberspace is the new game.

Certainly, a modernised website is required as the current one is obviously out of date. 

Within the present website, members can create their own blogs which members have done. But it is a waste as they are hidden inside the website. There are many of them. They get little or no traffic and they dilute any message they try and communicate in their separateness.

A blog is a most useful feature of the internet; it is where in-depth articles can be posted and commented on. But there needs to be only one, that is highly visible and regularly contributed to.

Another feature of a modernised website to consider is the incorporation of a dedicated ‘Discussion Forum’ as exists for many special interest groups on the internet. Such a Forum builds over time a library of participant’s knowledge and experiences and can be a most useful learning resource for tree planters. It could serve as a one stop shop for all the Special Interest Groups within NZFFA and bring their efforts into a coordinated easily accessed place.

I hear you say that we already have a discussion group on Facebook, why do we need another?

In fact, NZFFA has two presences on Facebook; the discussion group that is getting a good number of posts and comments but is a closed group of only 1000. While everyone has arguments for closed groups, I don’t think they apply in this instance as the organisation and its issues need to be aired publicly. By comparison the ‘Permaculture in NZ’ group  has 15,000 members, is public and those 15,000 members would largely be lifestylers. 

The other (main) NZFFA Facebook page is being used mostly to post field days and is getting few comments. There is a lost opportunity here.

A note on Facebook; while I can’t deny its effectiveness or popularity, I do remind you of its limitations. Little in depth dialogue is possible, it is too easy for it to drown in light weight and irrelevant throw away comments which is why I think the Blog and a dedicated and well moderated ‘Discussion Forum’ still are the best carriers of quality educational content and comments. Facebook is mostly an opportunity to tantalise and entertain those with short attention spans.

Click Here to comment on Opinion Piece 


Fuel Excise Duty Refunds

About 70 cents out of the price you pay for petrol is an excise duty that goes towards the construction and maintenance of our roading network. The funding from diesel powered machines comes via the Road Users Charges. When petrol is used off-road and as part of a commercial operation by farmers and foresters, the Excise Duty can be refunded if the correct procedures are followed. This could be petrol used in chainsaws, pumps, portable sawmills, water blasters, or quad bikes and side by sides. As long as it is not used on a public road and is part of a commercial operation, then the excise duty can be reclaimed.

There are two basic methods of claiming the refund. You can give the details of fuel purchased and the machines you burn it in to a company such as  and they will obtain the refund and pass it on minus their percentage. The other way is to do it yourself. To do this you have to register with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and they will assign you a customer number. Then you must fill out a quarterly return which can be done online now. This quarterly return or MR70 needs proof of petrol purchases which are provided by bulk fuel deliverers, the details of the machines you burn it in, and a record of how much fuel you have on hand at the end of the quarter. Any fuel used from your commercial supply for private use or on road should not be claimed for as you may be audited by Waka Kotahi at any time. More information and FAQs can be found on,  


President: Graham West

Newsletter editor: Dean Satchell

National Office: Liz Chamberlain Phone: 04 4720432

NZFFA Executive »

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Disclaimer: Personal views expressed in this newsletter are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent those of the NZ Farm Forestry Association.

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