Totara forestry in Northland

26 November 2019

The Totara Industry Pilot (TIP) project is evaluating a potential industry based on regenerating totara in Northland. One year in, Scion has benefited from a partnership with a collective of Maori landowners known as Taitokerau Maori Forests Inc.

The collective initially set out as members of the steering group to diversify their existing forestry knowledge alongside Northland Totara Working Group and Tane’s Tree Trust, other regional champions of totara. Bringing their Maori landowner experience, intergenerational values, traditional knowledge and relationships the collective has positively influenced the brand, culture and appeal of a totara industry by using a local narrative.

Such influence was shown when the TIP Steering Group used Northland totara timber donated by Scion on the restored floor of the Samuel Marsden Church in Matauri Bay. In January 2019, the community came together to dedicate the new floor.

Through TIP, Scion was also introduced to Ngati Hine Forestry’s totara breeding aspirations and has co-developed a research programme to deliver economic, environmental, social, and cultural breeding outcomes to New Zealand. An enduring relationship has developed, and we are working towards securing funding for totara breeding and future co-innovation and joint exploration of totara for carving, bioactives and ecosystem regeneration.