Forestry is a significant industry in New Zealand. It is the country’s fourth largest export earner behind dairy, meat and horticulture, and employs almost 40,000 people. The export value of New Zealand’s logs and forest products was $6.4 billion for the year ended June 2023.

In the east and south of New Zealand’s North Island is land renowned for providing excellent conditions for Radiata pine. The Wairarapa, Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay regions meet all of Forest Enterprises criteria for productive plantation forestry – good growth rates and land of medium contour, plus access to essential infrastructure for log processing and export.

Wairarapa is known for its farming and forestry

Wairarapa is the southern-most region of New Zealand’s North Island. It is an hour north of the capital city Wellington, only 90km by rail and 100km by road from Masterton. Two large sawmills operate in Masterton, and another nearby in Dannevirke.

The rail link is excellent between the Wairarapa and Wellington’s major log export facilities at CentrePort. Significant volumes of logs are being handled through this port.

The log marshalling facility at the Waingawa Rail Yard near Masterton processes and freights logs by rail direct to the Port. CentrePort, KiwiRail and Forest Enterprises collaborated to build the capacity of this infrastructure to meet the volume of wood expected in the next decade. Learn more about the log hub here.

The Greater Wellington Regional Council provides the land management framework for our forests in Wairarapa.

Forest Enterprises is a member of Southern North Island Wood Council, the forestry sector development organisation for the southern north island wood supply district which includes Wairarapa. Forest Enterprises CEO & Forestry Director, Bert Hughes is a founding executive committee member.

There are two domestic sawmills in Wairarapa. On the Masterton boundary is the large Juken New Zealand Limited (JNL) high-tech sawmill and laminated veneer lumber plant plus a chipping facility. Since construction in 1992, the mill has been extended a number of times, and JNL’s total investment in the area now exceeds $100 million. Kiwi Lumber Masterton is a sawmill specialising in unpruned sawlogs and Forest Enterprises is their largest supplier (approximately 65%).

Gisborne’s forests are among the best in the world

The Gisborne region is located on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island. Gisborne has long held the reputation for growing the best radiata pine because of its climate and topography. Forestry is a major contributor to the regional economy.

The sector is supported by a community of highly reputable forestry businesses and an excellent log export port. The volume of log exports through the Port of Gisborne has increased dramatically in the last 2 decades, from 350,000 tonnes in 2005 to 3 million tonnes currently.

Approximately half of our total estate under management is in the Gisborne region, and almost all the logs we produce here are exported.

Not only is forestry one of the region’s most important economic drivers, but forest management is critical to land stability. A key priority for Gisborne District Council is land management and the protection of hill country which is highly erodible land.

The regional forestry sector development organisation for Gisborne is the Eastland Wood Council, of which Forest Enterprises is a stakeholder. Learn more about Eastland Wood Council’s strategic programmes, including Forestry for Life, on their website.

Eastland Port reported in April 2017 that an estimated 2.6-2.8 million tonnes of logs are expected for 2017 and 2018. Projected future volume is expected to peak at 4 million tonnes of export product per year, necessitating the Port’s $70 million five-year Twin Berth development project. The future harvest of our investors’ forests relies on this essential infrastructure, as almost all of the wood produced from our Gisborne estate is exported.

Learn more about Gisborne’s regional economic development from the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment and from Activate Tairawhiti. For more information about investing in Gisborne Tairawhiti, download and read this Gisborne investment profile from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

Hawkes Bay’s forest growing industry is well-established

The Hawke’s Bay area is in the east of New Zealand’s North Island, south of Gisborne. The region has 130,000 hectares under radiata pine, mostly in private ownership, including corporate forest owners, iwi, farmers and investors like ours. It has well-established forestry infrastructure including a significant mill, a busy export port and rail transport links.

Pan Pac Forest Products’ pulp and sawmill has been operating at Whirinaki since 1971. It dominates the Hawke’s Bay wood processing industry and is one of New Zealand’s largest radiata pine sawmills.

Export log volumes through the Port of Napier for the 12 months to September 2023 were 2.5 millon tonnes.

Pan Pac Forest Products’ pulp and sawmill at Whirinaki specialises in Radiata pine and produces pulp, woodchip and lumber for a range of applications and international markets. Pan Pac is one of the largest producers of appearance grade lumber in New Zealand and is the largest exporter to Asia of appearance grade product.

Learn about Hawkes Bay Regional Council’s strategies for supporting the region’s forestry sector and for land management, on their website.

The Hawkes Bay’s forestry sector development organisation is the Hawkes Bay Forestry Group, of which Forest Enterprises is one of their eleven commercial members. The Group’s purpose is “to enhance the role of commercial forestry and processing in the Hawkes Bay”.

With significant harvest activity already underway in Hawkes Bay, Napier Port is playing a key role in getting regional rail back on track as a vital transport link for moving log exports. The Port is also committed to improving its log storage facilities in preparation for increased wood flows. Read more in their latest Annual Report 2017. During the days following the Kaikoura Earthquake in 2016, our export logs from Wairarapa were re-routed to Napier Port while CentrePort in Wellington recovered its port operations.

Regional economic growth is being driven locally through the Hawkes Bay Regional Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan, and centrally through the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment. For more information about investing in Hawkes Bay, download and read this Hawkes Bay investment profile from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise.

About our forests

We manage some of the best forests in the country

For an interactive map and more information about the forests we manage in Wairarapa, Gisborne and Hawkes Bay >>
About our forests

Journey of a log

When you drive into Wellington city, you can’t miss the logs waiting to leave the Port.

Follow the journey of a log from the forest in Wairarapa’s hill country, onto trucks and trains and out to the customer. Also meet the people who make it happen.

Video by CentrePort Wellington.

Supply chain partnerships

Up to 40% of the harvest volume from the Wairarapa forests we manage is supplied to local sawmills, like Kiwi Lumber in Masterton and Dannevirke. The rest heads south by rail from the Waingawa Log Hub near Masterton, for export via Port of Wellington.

Supply chain partners like our cartage contractors, local log marshalling services and the Ports are essential for optimising wood flow and delivering logs to our customers.

Video by CentrePort Wellington.

New Zealand’s forestry story

Petri Dish to Ship tells New Zealand’s forestry story through members of Gisborne’s forestry industry. This informative video highlights the sector’s economic and environmental contribution, from the moment pinus Radiata seeds are germinated in the lab, to when the log ships leave Port. Courtesy of Eastland Wood Council.

A guide to forestry

Eastland Wood Council has also published an excellent overview of the whole forestry sector.

Download and read The Guide to Forestry.

Find your fit in forestry

Forestry is a major contributor to New Zealand’s economy, and to the environment. Forestry is a fast-growing sector offering a broad range of career opportunities. Take a look at who is involved and how the sector works. Courtesy of

Forestry Facts & Figures

The New Zealand Forest Owners Association and Te Uru Rakau jointly publish an annual overview of the New Zealand plantation forest industry, like planting and harvest stats, employment, export earnings and wood production, plus industry initiatives like promotion and health and safety.

Read the latest Facts & Figures

Learn more