Business North Dec / Jan 2022

66 | FORESTRY Timberlands “The beauty of our assets is that we have a rail hub in the middle of our forests, which connects to the Port of Tauranga for export. That’s a huge advantage for us.” to page 68 A mindset of continuous improvement Richard Loader The powerful Māori expression, mō āke tonu atu — forever and a day — folds neatly into Timberlands’ simple but bold vision to manage the best and safest production forest in the world — the vast Kaingaroa forest estate in Central North Island. Hugging the eastern border of Lake Taupo, the estate stretches northeast to Whakatane, touching on Rotorua and out towards Mount Tarawera. Largely contiguous, the estate encompasses 200,000 hectares — 0.7% of New Zealand’s landmass. For Timberlands, being the best and safest forest means reaching beyond transactional relationships and compliance, embracing a mindset of continuous improvement for health and safety, sustainability, quality production and cost competitiveness. CEO Ryan Cavanagh says a mindset of continuous improvement is deeply embedded in Timberlands’ culture. “Every year we try to improve, not just financially but more broadly. In my experience of 20 years in big industry, companies that get that it’s more than just the bottom line, and realise that you can be the safest and the most sustainable and make a good profit, because that same mindset you bring to bear on improving different aspects of your business happens throughout the value chain.” Timberlands’ vision builds upon the legacy of New Zealand’s forefathers who had the vision to plant the massive softwood plantation in the early 20th century. Faced with the exhaustion of native wood by the mid-twentieth century, prison labour, along with the unemployed and returning service personnel were utilised in the 1920s to plant pinus radita, deemed the best for the terrain and location. From those early plantings the Kaingaroa forest plantation is now considered one of the largest softwood plantations in the Southern Hemisphere. While the estate has been owned by various entities over the generations, today it is owned by Kaingaroa Timberlands, whose shareholders are PSP Canada — a public sector pension investment board — the New Zealand Super Fund, and Kakano — a Central North Island based iwi collective who are landowners of part of the estate. “The New Zealand Government’s very bold step to actually plant something as audacious as the size of Kaingaroa was very visionary.”