Founder of Forest Enterprises, Charles Wallis, passed away on 22 November 2022, at the age of 85. This loss was in the golden anniversary year of the incorporation of Forest Enterprises Limited in 1972.

Charles was one of the titans in the forestry industry. The many thousands of Kiwis and people overseas who have invested in forestry recognise Charles for his Midas touch in creating gold from trees. He will be remembered for his wisdom, for always being the perfect gentlemen, and for always giving his time generously to help investors, colleagues, staff and business partners alike.

We at Forest Enterprises are proud to continue his legacy by growing the business he had the vision to create and build.

Charles was born in 1936 in Oriental Bay, Wellington and attended Waiwhetu Primary School and later Scots College. He entered farming after a year at Massey University working on farms in Wairarapa and the Manawatu. Charles and his wife Ann owned an 84 hectare farm in Wards Line, Greytown, then later a larger farm in Gladstone.

Charles and Ann left farming to follow Charles’ commercial instincts and entrepreneurial skills. Benefitting from the Government’s Forestry Encouragement Grant Scheme, Charles developed commercial forestry syndications. He was a pioneer in this field. Forest Enterprises Limited was established as a one man band in a back office in the Hardan Building in Perry Street in 1972.

The first syndicate – ‘The Waterfalls Project’ was a 160-hectare forest and brought together 25 keen investors who Charles knew personally.

27 years on when Charles retired from Forest Enterprises:

  • The company had its own premises in Papawai Place
  • Employed 14 fulltime staff (now 32) and hundreds of contractors
  • Managed 50 forests in the North Island with a collective area of 22,000 hectares
  • The 50 syndicates involved 6,500 investors

Charles was also chairman of the Wairarapa Building Society in the 1980s.

Outside family and business, Charles enjoyed community participation. He was a member of Jaycees and later Auckland Rotary. He was a president of Masterton South Rotary Club and awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship in 2001 for meritorious service. When in Auckland he was twice president of Waiheke Rotary Club.

Charles will be remembered not only for his true grit but also as a gentleman with an engaging, caring personality and a desire to help people succeed. He is survived by his wife Ann, 3 children, 6 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.

Photo: This brochure cover from the late 1990s featuring Charles was used for the promotion of Forest Enterprises’ syndicates at the time and the many benefits of forestry investment. “A cut above the rest”, indeed.