Mixed Manuka & Indigenous Forestry

Posted on July 30, 2020

The prospects of mixed Manuka and indigenous forestry is a feasible option and something that is likely to become an increasing part of the NZ forestry dynamics in the near future.

A mixed Manuka and Indigenous forestry model generates Manuka honey and Carbon Credit income for the first 30 years of the plantation. The Indigenous forest can be registered for harvest, providing income from timber at approx. 50 years. The Indigenous forest also has a significant value as a standing forest at 30 years.

To give a broad comparison between a Mixed Indigenous and a Pine plantation, on a per ha basis.

Nett Manuka Honey Income Carbon Credits (Pine 18 years, Indigenous 30 years) Nett log Value Standing Forest value Total at 30 years
Mixed Indigenous $59,450 $7,850 $- $40,000 (+) $107,300(+)
Pine Plantation $- $8,715 $40,000 $- $48,715

A registered planted forest will start to rise in investment value, even as a younger standing forest.

A mixed forestry model would plant 400 Indigenous tree species per ha and 1200 Manuka per ha in between the Indigenous species. The plants would be planted at 2.5m x 2.5m centres in the following pattern.


Te Uru Rakau are offering 1BT grants for Indigenous Forestry of $4000/ha + possible top ups for fencing ($500/ha), erosion ($500/ha) and restoration of areas of ecological significance.

This option allows for up to 70% in manuka and the balance in other species. Kauri Park can supply and plant 1600 plants/ha of Kauri and Manuka for a cost of approximately $5300/ha including plants, planting costs and freight. Spraying is an additional cost.

The minimum area for an Indigenous forest is 1ha and the area must be wider than 30m.

MPI pay out the 1BT funds in 2 milestone payments.

Milestone One is generally 30% of the total grant, and is paid once the contract has been signed and the landowner can provide MPI with evidence, including invoices, emails and photos showing that work is underway.

Milestone Two is generally 70% of the total grant, and is paid at Establishment. This is when the trees are actively growing, are clear of weeds and are visually verifiable. There must be more than 750 live plants/ha. Milestone 2 establishment payments are usually claimed at least 6 weeks after the post plant release spray. For indigenous species, establishment is likely to be approx. 15-20 months after planting.

I have attached a leaflet outlining 1BT Direct Landowner grants.

Te Uru Rākau – Forestry New Zealand milling statement and process:

  1. Landowner plants indigenous species in an area of land which is not currently in indigenous vegetation.
  2. Landowner applies to Te Uru Rākau – Forestry New Zealand for a Planted Indigenous Forest Certificate
  3. Te Uru Rākau visits your site to confirm the information you have provided
  4. Te Uru Rakau issues a Planted Indigenous Forest Certificate, if they are satisfied

Harvesting Trees

  1. Landowner is ready to harvest their planted trees.
  2. Landowner applies to Te Uru Rākau for a milling statement, supplying the Planted Indigenous Forest Certificate as evidence. (A milling statement is a legal document that states Te Uru Rākau is satisfied timber meets provisions set out in the Forests Act 1949 allowing the timber to be milled. It is illegal to mill native timber without this document.)
  3. Te Uru Rākau, if satisfied, issues a milling statement allowing the landowner to mill the trees at a sawmill registered with Te Uru Rakau. (Sawmills wanting to mill native timber have to register their mill with Te Uru Rakau for this purpose. Registration costs $115 a year and is currently the only cost a sawmiller pays to Te Uru Rakau regardless of how many milling statements they apply for)