Scion signs Collaboration Agreement with Māori Carbon Collective

14 December 2021

Credit: Stephen Parker

Māori whenua (land) opportunities will engage with science to welcome an innovative future with the signing of a Collaboration Agreement between Scion and the Māori Carbon Collective.

Scion Crown Research Institute chief executive Julian Elder and Māori Carbon Collective (MCC) founding chairman Tā (Sir) Mark Solomon put pen to paper this afternoon at Te Whare Nui o Tuteata in Rotorua.

Tā Mark believes a lot can be done for Māoridom using collaborative research to understand the current and future Māori position relating to carbon sequestration activities on whenua.

“This agreement being signed is the highlight of our year. We’ve been dreaming of this relationship for a long time,” he says.

“One of the projects I’m most excited to work on with Scion is trialing the planting of a mix of Pinus radiata and native trees on whenua for carbon farming where eventually the native forest takes over to become fully native again,” says Tā Mark.

“My heart always tells me that the best way to move forward with our whenua is using native trees, but if you are doing it as an economic return at this stage, the best process is using exotics.

“I would like business collaboration with Scion to prove we can do it with the native trees - this is our country and we should be planting with our trees.”

Dr Elder says the agreement will make innovation accessible for Māori landowners.

“As a research organisation, our purpose is to make economic, environmental and social impacts for Aotearoa, New Zealand - we can't do this on our own and we need to help enable others. Entering a partnership with the Māori Carbon Collective is a real opportunity to help the Collective do the things we think are possible to benefit their whenua,” he says.

“Scion has a lot of built-up knowledge from operating for nearly 75 years.  We want to apply this for the benefit of all New Zealanders, particularly around carbon sequestration and indigenous trees. With the signing of this agreement, we can add a lot to these spaces.”

Scion will work with the Māori Carbon Collective to enable pathways that lead to outcomes in indigenous forestry; forest-to-cultural-aspiration products; forestry value chain development; indigenous tree breeding and planting; production forestry; climate change mitigation planning; and sustainable community infrastructure.

The Māori Carbon Collective was formed to ensure land trusts are provided with guidance to participate in the carbon trading market, while acknowledging the whenua as kaitiaki.

All benefits that can be retained when registering with the Government’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) are returned to the mana whenua. Protection is also extended to eliminate any risk or threat of the loss of land.

Photo credit: Stephen Parker

About Māori Carbon Collective
Māori Carbon Collective was formed with a core focus to ensure that Māori would be able to participate in the Carbon Market. This has been achieved through a primary offer that encourages Mana Whenua to enter into an equal sharing partnership model, designed by founding Chairman Tā (Sir) Mark Solomon. The partnership eliminates the need for Mana Whenua to have access to any risk capital or ability to obtain any sort of financing from traditional institutions. This is all done while acknowledging the role partners have as Kaitiaki, ensuring the protection of the whenua by making sure there is never any risk or threat to losing the land.