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‘Right tree in right place’

The Mangatu Blocks Incorporation will receive $450,000 from the Government’s One Billion Trees Fund to help meet costs involved in moving to a more productive and sustainable land-use model.

Regional Development Minister Shane Jones made the announcement at a hui held in the incorporation’s board room yesterday afternoon.

“Mangatu Blocks has identified areas where they can integrate trees into their existing farming operations, which is a key goal of the One Billion Trees Fund,” the minister said.

The incorporation manages 48,100 hectares of land and over half the land is in pastoral farming.

“I am pleased to be able to partner with Mangatu to realise the potential of their land through funding that will establish more than 240 hectares of exotic and native trees.”

In total Mangatu has committed to planting or supporting reversion of more than 3000ha of marginal land for environmental and economic benefits, he said.

Chairman of the incorporation’s committee of management Alan Haronga Junior said their approach was driven by the best use of their land.

“The right tree in the right place as part of our land use mosaic, Mr Haronga Jnr said.

“We take the 1000 year view in terms of what our ancestral lands should look like.”

Mr Jones said the partnership would also see Mangatu Blocks trial their own Manuka seedlings from local sources.

“Working with Maori to protect and enhance their whenua is an important part of the One Billion Trees programme.

“I am encouraging Maori to come forward to partner with the Government through this initiative.”

The $450,000 grant has been divided into two portions.

The Mangatawa Te Hua Te Apiti portion involves 115ha of radiata pine and 2.29ha of regeneration, with $202,010 in committed funding.

The Waihirere Station portion involves supporting 119.26ha of radiata pine, 11ha of eucalyptus and 3.4ha of manuka, totalling $247,643 in committed funding.

Mr Jones described the Billion Trees initiative as designed to “increase the size of the nation’s lungs”.

He applauded the blend of forestry and farming proposed by the Mangatu Blocks Incorporation.

“This is a great showcase, particularly for other Maori incorporations and landowners in general.”

LAND USE SUPPORT: Regional Development Minister Shane Jones (centre) announced $450,000 government grant funding for Mangatu Blocks Incorporation yesterday afternoon. Picture by Paul Rickard