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Newsletter 142, June 2022

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In this issue

President's Update

Hello everyone, May and June have been dominated by actions around addressing the proposed changes to the ETS, Forest Extension Seminars (reported separately) and addressing ways to improvement to our membership services, public image, and revenues.

Membership Services Working Group

Since payment using cheques has been stopped by banks some folks have had difficulty renewing memberships via the website. Our ability to interact easily with our membership system is paramount to giving everyone a good experience when joining or renewing membership. We have put together a working group (Liz, Don, Dean, Howard, Michael G, Mike O, and myself) to improve this system and we welcome comments and feedback on your experience with this system, plus any suggestions for improvement.

National Field days Forestry Hub 

Great progress is being made on this and it is shaping up to be a significant milestone. The Field Days company are keen to have a significant forestry exhibit there and are being very supportive. There has been a lot of industry engagement (about 24 organisations/businesses) and many exciting things will be on display. Several competitions are being planned to engage the general public. 


As previously mentioned, we are beginning a more proactive and positive approach to publicity that will involve roadside billboards. NZ FOA will be doing something similar, but we have developed our own catchphrases. These are more orientated toward addressing climate change with forests and will not be pine centric. This shift in strategy is born from the difficulty to change the minds of officials and politicians with submissions. Hence, we are moving to a “hearts and minds” approach where we inform public perception and let the public make the political change.

Billboards involves all Branches, and we would like to you to manage the process of erecting billboards in your district. It will be your decision what they say. We will offer a short list of six catchphrases that the executive gave the highest ranking and encourage you to use these to create a common theme.

Implications from Government

There are numerous developments in government policy that may impact on members. They are:

Permanent Carbon Forests in the ETS

The proposal to exclude exotic forests from this ETS category has many members concerned, both for and against. In our submission we tried to explain what the current science tells us about the biology of this proposal. This appears to be making little impression and many voices that are for this are repeating opinions that are (in my opinion) not backed by science. Our general position on this was in the previous newsletter. I have had many reports of farmers not planting this winter while there remains considerable policy uncertainty on this issue. There have been many Zoom meetings and workshops to engage in the consultation process.

In recent months I have joined forces with a group formed around those interested in addressing climate change through forestry. This group has formed the “Climate Forestry Association” and currently includes: the National Māori Forestry Association, NZ Carbon Farming, EKOS, and NZ FFA. The purpose is to have a united voice when talking to officials and politicians. We have written to Ministers Nash and Shaw, have had meetings with them, written follow-up letters addressing concerns, and developed compromise solutions with a pathway of further consultation. I’m not sure we have made any real progress, but we will persevere.

Forest Advisors Bill

The proposal to have mandatory registration of all those that give advice on forestry has potential to impact on members that receive any reward for these services. This may include extension seminars or workshops where fees are charged. The legislation is very broad, and we need to be very vigilant not to get caught by this. NZ Institute of Forestry is leading this action, supported by NZ FOA and FICA. We are keeping a close watch on this.

Harvest Assurance Bill

This is associated with the above bill and relates to halting the international trade of illegal harvested wood. Log Traders are expected to be registered under this bill and forest owners will be required to provide a statement of your right to harvest the timber. The impact should be minor, but we need to watch for unintended consequences.

Role of Forestry in Emissions Reduction Plan

Consultation on how NZ will meet its first emissions budget has created many working groups led by officials seeking input. In addition to changes to the ETS, this includes bioenergy, biodiversity, fire risk management, species diversification, changes to NES_FP. This involves many on the executive who work through the Levy Sub-committees to give influence and represent small scale growers’ views.

Forestry and Wood Processing Industry Transition Plan (TUR – NZFS)

The development of an Industry Transition Plan focusing on wood processing is about creating more wealth from domestic wood processing and strategically diversifying our forest growing and wood products into new markets. It is also highly connected to the Emissions Reduction Plan and could have major implications for members. We are very lucky to have Dean Satchell volunteer to represent our interests on this working group. I have been fortunate to be asked to comment on an early draft and think it will place far greater government policy emphasis on a wood-based bioeconomy, something that is very overdue. The final report is due out soon for public comment. 

Fund raising facilitators

All the above reinforces the need for NZ FFA to be as professional as possible in representing members interests and engaging high quality support where needed. To help fund this, the first of the operational contractors has been engaged to help improve revenue from advertising, sponsorship and partnering. We have selected Element Environmental Ltd to do the first of this work. This will be led by Matt Highway ( and assisted by Eliza Burt-Priddy. We have had the first “Initialisation” meeting and if asked, can you please help Matt and Eliza understand our organisation and explain the value of your NZ FFA membership to you. Also explain how things work at the Branch or Action Group level. 

Best wishes in getting through winter free of Covid or Flu.

Graham West, NZFFA President



Farm Forestry Journal Cover September, 1973: One year old stock twelve months after planting on a clearfelled slope in Westland.  (Frank Simpson Photography)


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.



  • Why pruning/clearwood is one of our major competitive advantages Denis Hocking's blog, June 2022.  Most members will be only too aware of this, but sometimes I feel it is worth restating and discussing the obvious. I will start by pointing out that knot free…
  • Pastoral farming, belief and propaganda Dean Satchell's blog, May 2022.  When I think about Ukraine's plight for freedom and the disinformation coming from the Russian propaganda machine, I am reminded of just how strong human belief is, and how easily this can be…
  • “Productive Farmland Disappearing under a Blanket of Trees” Vaughan Kearns blog, June 2022. More RABID NONSENSE from people who should know better. I felt compelled to write this tirade in response to continued, misinformed allegations from Federated Farmers, Beef and Lamb, Dame Anne Salmond, The Flat Earth Society and the Tolaga Bay Board Riders club.

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






Update on the Forestry Extension pilot with TUR-NZFS

Presenters included Howard Moore, Egon Guttke, Tim Forde, Kevin Reardon, Julian Bateson, Vaughan Kearns, Morris Fisher, Hugh Patterson, Denis Hocking, Johan Bremmers, Stan Braaksma, Bert Hughes and myself. 

The project is almost finished. Three full days of workshops reinforced by subsequent field trips have been completed.

The workshops attracted a broad range of attendees including industry support organisations, regional council land managers, researchers, representatives of companies associated with the carbon market and the bio-fuel industry, forestry companies and the target group of hill-country farmers. There were 133 registrations in total and 95 attendees across the three pilot seminars.  Of these attendees 55 were farmers. The following preliminary analysis was carried out by Robyn Smit under contract to TUR-NZFS.  More analysis is still being carried out.

Some comments from farmers:

  • Very good. Some very knowledgeable speakers.
  • Would like more workshops on: He Waka Eke Noa, Income diversification and poplars and willows.
  • A  very big overview. Would be good to have follow up publications with more detail into the realities of many of these aspects.
  • Really good information on everything.
  • Good to hear from such knowledgeable speakers with practical experience.
  • Great effort – thanks everyone.

Some comments from sector support, Government agencies and others:

  • Interesting to hear about natives.
  • Good pictures in the slides which reinforced the message.
  • Excellent day. Great organisation.
  • Tax, carbon credits, He Waka Eke Noa – very good.  Well presented.
  • This was info intensive for a 101.  


A complete analysis of, and a formal discussion about, the pilot workshops, is yet to be carried out, but it is highly likely that TUR-NZFS will agree that the Forest Extension Pilot project has been a great success, and will want at least a modification of them rolled out across other regions of the country. Apart from strengthening TUR-NZFS’s new key performance indicator of providing forest advisory services, this will bolster the forestry sector’s social license to operate, and help firm up NZFFA membership.

Hamish Levack, Workshop Co-ordinator


Combined Action Group Weekend Te Tai Rawhiti / Eastland

This event was held from Friday 10th June to Monday June 13th.  Running an action weekend in mid winter was fraught with potential disaster. However, I felt it was necessary on the back of the cancellation of the National Conference and the postponement of the much anticipated “Weekend with Eric” tour in Nelson, to provide an opportunity for active members to get together face to face.

As it turned out, it was a resounding success, both in terms of those that attended, and for those that stayed away. There were 46 attendees and 6 that were forced to retire with covid so couldn’t come. Gisborne provided the perfect base to explore the region.

Initially I did my utmost to exclude Sequoia sempervirens from the programme, but the Sequoia Action Group arranged their own picnic on the day before the weekend proper was to begin.

The opportunity to become acquainted with the redwood pruning and spacing trials adjacent to Lake Tutira, an hour north of Napier was accepted by 15 of the participants as well as a few Gisborne locals who traveled down. It was a great opportunity to meet some new FFA members and to catch up with Simon Rapley who is immersed in the current sale of the NZ Redwood Company forests.

A gentle breeze blew through the 24 year old trees as skilled Forest Growers Research and Scion staff undertook growth measurements from the Permanent Sample Plots that are set up within the trial.

After lunch and further discussion it was time to head north to attend the “meet and greet” of the other participants at the Tatapouri Fishing Club. It was extremely rewarding to have two members of the FFA executive among the group as well as two past presidents. It certainly cemented the relevance of the Action Weekends.

Participants deep in conversation about the ability of the Sequoia species to withstand a large degree of build up from earth flows or silting over their stems. On this site the trunks had been buried in up to three metres of silt during Cyclone Bola.  Most had survived, but even those that had died remain upright, thirty four years later.

Saturday dawned fine as the rest of New Zealand was lashed with gales and thunderstorms. First visit was to David Clarke’s magnificent property on the western flank of the Poverty Bay plains.

First stop was to walk among and discuss redwoods for a change. The most import take away, was the revelation that they will handle tighter stocking than radiata pine at final spacing. If they need room, they simply grow up to the light.

Later a brisk walk to view lusitanica cypress and Eucaluptus globoidea performing well on an exposed hill site. Lunch was taken at David’s huge private lake which is bordered by Ovensii cypress, oaks, Eucalyptus and interestingly, redwoods.

Then we were off to Knapdale, the beautiful property of Kees and Kay Weytmans. Oaks, lusitanica, kauri, black walnut, Acacia, more oaks, stunningly pruned cypress, and if I’m not mistaken, redwoods, were all on display and covered off with good debate.

These are stunning examples of lusitanica cypress growing well on a southeast face on the Knapdale property. These are pruned in excess of nine metres.

The Oaks New Zealand action group AGM took place while the rest of us scoffed at their lack of clothing.

A sumptuous meal and exquisite wine was laid on for the discerning clientele as well as the action group members.

The weekend was titled “country on the move”. Sunday saw us in the vans and we traveled in convoy through Tolaga Bay, Tokomaru Bay and Te Puia Springs to Ruatoria and beyond.

On the way we stopped for a roadside chat beside massive redwoods that had been severely buried in silt during the Cyclone Bola tragedy of February 23 to March 4, 1988.  The rainfall during that episode was monumental and the earth flows that accompanied it lead to a rethinking of pastoral farming in the steeper parts of the district. Recently this year, the effects of more rain events were obvious. The road was barely passable in many instances and the obvious loss of pasture and hill cover was clearly on display.

At lunch on the Ruatoria Marae that is home to Graeme Atkins, conservationist and avid hunter, we were saddened to be made aware of the terrible decline in bird life and forest health of the Raukumara Wilderness Park.

The predation by rats, possums, goats, pigs and deer have taken a terrible toll on this once pristine area. A very sobering experience. As the sun shone brightly, we ventured out to have discussions with local Maori who are engaged in salvage sawmilling of many of the pine and macrocarpa woodlots and hedgerows that dot the area.  Much advice was given and greatly received.

Then back in the late afternoon to Gisborne for dinner, but not before a stop off to view the stunning Mt Hikurangi in the evening light. The Sequoia Action Group held its AGM at the Tatapouri Club dinner.

Monday saw us visiting the property of Nick and Cheryl Pollock, recent recipients of North Island farm foresters of the year award. This property has a multitude of attractions . Firstly we learnt about the art of growing good feijoa and citrus fruit after navigating a swollen river. Later we moved to the back of the property where we discussed Eucaluptus argophloia, E. bosistoana, E. globoidea, redwoods among pine, redwoods among alders, redwoods among Douglas fir and redwoods among redwoods.

Our final tree stop was under the welcome cover of Cupressus lusitanica and Cupressus ovensii, as a brisk shower passed through. Lunch consisted of a dead animal cooked to perfection on a spit accompanied by a selection of commodious condiments. 

After lunch was my highlight of the trip when we visited the Wharerata Forest and the 1996 Cypress trial hidden within. I was able to witness first hand the incomparable Cupressus unicornii which stood out from all the other seed lots and clones that were on display within the trial.

Toby Stovold of Scion, has found his happy place among the C. unicornii in the Wharerata Forest cypress trial.  Average DBH of 600 mm at 26 years of age

This hybrid cypress is better known to members as the Neil Barr hybrid. It is a Macrocarpa x Lusitanica clone which is superb in its growth and form. This cultivar holds first place among the various cypresses that the CDG are promoting. There were four stunning examples on display in this trial. They were measured with an average DBH of 600mm and an estimated height of 33 metres. For trees of 26 years this is an outstanding achievement on what is an extremely exposed site.

Further discussion then centred around the current scourge of radiata, red needle cast. This pathogen was first discovered in the Wharerata Forest and it is there where it can be seen in its most damaging. Many maturing trees are failing to put on any growth this season due to defoliation. Some have died completely. Toby Stovold from Scion was a wealth of information about this troublesome fungus.

A brief visit to the 2021 hybrid cypress trial of Nick Pollock capped off a magnificent day and those that were not departing immediately retired to the Lone Star restaurant to reflect on a successful excursion.

It would be remiss of me not to thank the organisers of the Eastland trip on the ground. The locals; Kees Weytmans was an absolute revelation. His effort was enormous and deserves huge credit. Dr John McLean organised airport pick ups and the meals at Tatapouri Club and Phil Gaukrodger organised the trip up to Ruatoria and the Marae visit. The success of the weekend was a tribute to the tireless activities of these gentlemen.

Vaughan Kearns, Event coordinator and recent redwood disciple. 


Special General Meeting - Thursday 7 July 2022

A reminder to all members:                         

A Special General Meeting of the NZ Farm Forestry Association is called for 7 July 2022 in order to discuss and pass the following resolution:

That the annual subscription be increased by $40 GST inclusive for 2023 and subsequent years.


At Council and Executive meetings in 2021 we discussed the need to rejuvenate the Association, and how we might pay for it. Our thinking culminated in a paper sent out to branches in February this year entitled “Business Case for funding projects to be completed by an Operations Contractor.” 

In response to the business case many of the branches contributed to a fighting fund to meet the initial costs of this change. That one-off contribution was substantial and greatly appreciated. We are currently working on engaging the first of these contractors.

The need for ongoing professional services to represent your interests has become increasingly pressing. Climate change and freshwater quality have made forestry a political issue and many new regulations are in development. The public is being offered ill-informed, negative views of commercial forestry from many sources. If Farm Forestry is to defend its role, deal with these challenges and represent your views we need a larger budget for better membership services, more professional representation and better advocacy. Rather than rely on volunteers to carry the load, we want to engage contracted services in these roles.

This resolution

Although we expect the initial work will increase the Association’s income, the Executive feels it will be necessary to ensure we have enough annual revenue for a permanent change to the way we operate. 

As that will require more funds than current fees provide, we seek to increase national levy membership subscriptions by $40 a head for 2023 and beyond. Unfortunately there was no time to discuss this at the 2022 AGM, and so we want to inform you now and pass the necessary resolution at a Special General Meeting.

The Special General Meeting (for all members) will be held on 7 July 2022 at 11am online via Zoom. A link has been provided by email to members. As subscriptions are a sensitive topic please join the meeting and have your say.  


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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