Tāmata Hauhā provides landowners new opportunities with carbon forestry

Tāmata Hauhā founders Lance Iwikau and Blair Jamieson - making a positive difference on the land.

Launched in 2021, Tāmata Hauhā has made a big impact in a short time by showing how carbon forestry and solar farming opportunities can be opened up in positive ways that are good for the land and its people. Their partnership approach gives landowners support to realise their aspirations across the whenua and make the best use of that resource.

For such a young enterprise, Tāmata Hauhā has notched up some impressive success. In 2023, Tāmata Hauhā won the Supreme Award at Te Manu Atatu Māori Business Awards; the Downs Group New Business Award at the Rangitikei Business Awards; and a Platinum Award (High 5 Expo) at the inaugural High 5 NZ International Health Industry Summit. As well, the company was a finalist in the 2023 Sustainable Business Awards for Climate Action Leader.

“It shows that we are doing the right thing,” says Blair Jamieson, CEO and co-founder of Tāmata Hauhā. “People have been playing football with forestry over the past few years, and there are many out there doing forestry in a way that we don’t think is correct. There is this relentless pursuit of pine when we see an opportunity to diversify our forestry inventory as a country. When you drill down into it, you can actually earn more money from non-pine species under the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) than from pine.”

“There are so many opportunities if you are prepared to look forward a little – it’s what separates us from everyone else.”

Both Blair and fellow co-founder Lance Iwikau, who is Tāmata Hauhā’s Chief Technical Advisor, previously worked at the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) but saw that they could make a bigger impact by going out on their own to assist Māori landowners needing help with erosion-prone, marginal land.

“We realised forestry could be the cash flow for them. We started looking for funding for specific projects that were a bit outside the usual remit of a government agency. That sparked a broader conversation and a decision to try and make an impact at the national scale.”

To achieve their vision, Tāmata Hauhā has partnered with investors who fully support their kaupapa. Tāmata Hauhā provides the funding and ongoing management to help landowners get started with carbon forestry, and profits through the ETS are then split 50/50. Whānau and landowners partnering with Tāmata Hauhā can choose from a wide range of tree species – both exotic and native species – with the emphasis on the right tree for the right location.

“We also develop a lot of agri-forestry, integrating forestry and livestock in the same space. We’ve got a whole dairy farm that is a forest, with cows grazing under trees. There are so many opportunities if you are prepared to look forward a little – it’s what separates us from everyone else.”

“If you want to do agri-forestry or high-value cropping alongside forestry, that’s great. Let’s have an ‘and-and’ conversation. That’s our whole business model.”

To date, Tāmata Hauhā has developed some 22 separate projects involving 4,200 hectares of carbon forestry. That number is expected to be closer to 40 by the end of 2024. Based in Marton, the company also employs staff in Whangārei, Bay of Plenty, Wellington and Nelson. Fast growth has brought the total full-time team to around 23 people.

“We do everything from feasibility to excavation and clearing, spraying, managing the planting and quality control, compliance and maintenance. We take all the financial risk and do all the planting, and the landowner provides the land. Its fair, open and transparent – a true 50/50 partnership with the landowner.”

While this is a Māori organisation, Blair says they will work with anyone who needs them. “Māori are not the only ones with issues on their land needing support.”

Tumanako Ranui – a subsidiary of Tāmata Hauhā has developed some 22 separate projects involving 4,200 hectares of carbon forestry and including agri-forestry. Hauhā has also partnered with Regener8 Power to create sustainable solar farm development opportunities for landowners. The approach is very similar to their forestry proposition. “We’ve got three agreements right now that are working towards development.”

© Waterford Press Ltd 2024 – Independent Print Media New Zealand

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