Ngai Tahu planting million native trees

Friday 27 Jul 2018

Ngai Tahu is planting a million native trees in New Zealand and converting some of its farms to horticulture as part of its strategy to deal with climate change. And it’s also publicly throwing its weight behind a group of businesses pledging to cut emissions.

Ngai Tahu Holdings, which manages the iwi’s NZ$1.8 billion worth of assets, is one of 60 companies in the Climate Leaders’ Coalition unveiled last week. Chief executive Mike Sang says that while the organisation doesn’t usually like taking public stands, climate change is too big not to. “We don’t normally like being in the public space at all,” he told Carbon News. “We really like doing our own business and talking about what we’re doing with the iwi rather than more publicly or broadly.

“But this has just become so important and the timing has become so critical. We are connected to Business New Zealand, we are connected to a lot of these guys in a lot of different ways, so when they’re saying we want to do this collaboratively and collectively work together, then I think it’s important that we support what they’re trying to achieve, especially when you bear in mind what we’re trying to achieve.”

What Ngai Tahu Holdings is trying to achieve is sustainable businesses, in areas it loves, that will last for centuries, Sang says. Ngai Tahu is working to future-proof its businesses – especially its farms. The iwi owns 100,000 hectares of land. Half is in forestry, just over 30,000ha is high-country farmland and the rest is North Canterbury farmland.

Sang says the iwi is constantly looking for better ways to use the land, and climate change plays a big part in influencing its decisions. “Sustainability and climate change are central to our focus at the moment, and we see it as the key issue for the country,” he said. The iwi is planting orchards on some of its farmlands and is experimenting with blueberries. It is also planting a million native trees, which will help to sequester carbon and provide habitat for native birds.

Source: Carbon News 2018

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