One-off offer of free mānuka seedlings to landowners

Te Uru Rākau (Forestry New Zealand) is partnering with Mānuka Farming New Zealand to plant 1.8 million mānuka seedlings across New Zealand. These seedlings will be provided free of charge to landowners that meet eligibility criteria.

Mānuka Farming New Zealand (MFNZ) General Manager Stephen Lee says one of the conditions of being eligible to receive mānuka seedlings is that landowners must commit to planting them in 2018.

Mr Lee said MFNZ will undertake free site assessments to assess land suitability for establishing a mānuka plantation. They will also provide a Plantation Establishment Plan.

“It’s an opportunity to plant 1.8 million mānuka trees on around 1,635 hectares across New Zealand,” he says.

“We have a large range of developed, tested and trialed high performance mānuka varieties designed and tailored for specific regions, as well as eco-sourced varieties suitable for planting at or near their source. MFNZ is providing wrap-around services to ensure greater planting and growing success.”

Te Uru Rākau has contracted MFNZ to facilitate and manage planning, and assessing the suitability of sites, for mānuka plantations to be planted this winter.

“This is great opportunity for landowners to plant manuka on their land,” says Julie Collins, Head of Te Uru Rākau.

“To get the very best possible outcomes, we need to ensure the right mānuka seedlings are matched to the land. MFNZ has experience and expertise in this area. This initiative will contribute to the Government’s One Billion Trees Programme.”

Mr Lee said there is no maximum limit on the size of the proposed plantations that landowners can apply for, however, the land approved for planting will be determined as part of the assessment process.

“Ideally the land is already free of weeds and pests as this will enable planting to take place between July and September.”

Mr Lee said while there is no minimum plantation size, larger-sized plantations will be assessed more favourably, as the opportunities for producing higher quality mānuka honey increases with plantation size.

Landowners will need to cover the costs of packing and dispatching the seedlings from the nursery, site preparation including pest and weed control, fencing if required, planting costs and post-plant monitoring.

Landowners will not be eligible for this offer for land that has received grant funding from the Ministry for Primary Industries for planting in 2018, through programmes such as the Afforestation Grant Scheme, Hill Country Erosion Programme, or the Erosion Control Funding Programme.

MFNZ will also work with relevant councils and government agencies to help facilitate investment that could be available to landowners for planting.

Interested landowners should contact MFNZ to register their interest by May 23.

Where applicable, landowners will be entitled to keep the carbon credits that accrue from the plantation.