US company looks to NZ for redwoods

A large-scale land purchase by an American forestry company west of Taupō will see 1148ha of farmland converted into a redwood forest. The NZ$7 million purchase North of Taumarunui, near Matiere, by The New Zealand Redwood Company has been approved by the Overseas Investment Office.

The venture was likely to create six full-time jobs and increase New Zealand's export returns because the bulk of the timber will be exported to the United States in a processed form, the OIO consent said. Taupō-based NZRC was formed in 2001 by the Soper Wheeler Co of California, a 100-year-old forestry firm.

NZRC specialises in redwoods, and has so far planted 3000ha of redwoods and intends to keep establishing forests in New Zealand. NZRC chief executive Simon Rapley said the company plans to plant redwoods on 650ha, retain the 270ha of native forest and leave the balance in pasture on the sheep-beef farm.

"We will plant over 400,000 trees on the property," Rapley said in an emailed statement. The trees will be harvested between 35 and 40 years of age and will almost certainly be processed locally. "The processed wood will most likely end up in California, which is the only existing market until other markets can be developed."


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