Building a future of sustainable, inclusive growth for forestry

Located in the heart of New Zealand’s forestry and wood processing industry, Rotorua has, for decades, been at the epicentre of New Zealand’s fourth-largest export earner.

RotoruaNZ has been working with Rotorua Lakes Council and stakeholders to position Rotorua as the Centre of Excellence in forestry and wood processing, highlighting the importance of these sectors to our district.
In 2023, an oversight group made up of seven Rotorua-based organisations – CNI Wood Council, Scion, Te Uru Rākau - New Zealand Forest Service, Toi Ohomai | Te Pūkenga, Rotorua Lakes Council, RotoruaNZ, and Whenua Oho – developed the Rotorua Forest Futures Action Plan to strengthen this work.
Taking a tea o Māori approach, the document presents a Rotorua-led innovative and practical plan that recognises Rotorua’s natural strengths in the sector and highlights key focus areas, emphasising the importance of community engagement, environmental stewardship, and economic development. The Action Plan contains 32 different actions with a series of different action owners, as well as a call to action from our stakeholders.

Key highlights of the Action Plan

  • Moving to carbon zero: With a strong focus on sustainability, the Action Plan aims to contribute to climate change mitigation through increased tree planting and the adoption of carbon-zero practices. This aligns with broader environmental goals and the global effort to reduce carbon emissions. The Action Plan outlines a commitment to diverse planting, supporting a mix of species that contribute to ecological resilience and economic viability. This approach ensures forests are more adaptable to changing climates and market demands.
  • Māori and forests: Central to the plan is the incorporation of te ao Māori perspectives, ensuring that practices are aligned with Māori values and the principles of kaitiakitanga (guardianship). This includes initiatives designed by Māori for Māori, supporting their significant role in the forestry sector.
  • Research, science, innovation and commercialisation: The plan highlights the role of forestry in driving economic growth, with a focus on innovation, research, and the development of a circular bioeconomy. This includes investments in wood processing and technology that leverage Rotorua’s position as a hub for forestry excellence.
  • Engaged communities: Recognising the vital role of the community, the plan emphasises engagement and education to ensure that the benefits of forestry are widely understood and shared. This includes efforts to enhance recreational access to forests and educational programs to inspire the next generation of forestry professionals.

A call to action

The Rotorua Forest Futures Action Plan is not just a document but a call to action for all stakeholders to work together towards a shared vision. It represents a significant opportunity to shape the future of forestry in Rotorua, ensuring it is sustainable, inclusive, and economically vibrant.
Click here for more information on the Rotorua Forest Futures Action Plan and to view the document (PDF), and contact the investment team if you’d like to get involved.

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