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Harvesting Commences at Te Ahimanawa Forest

PF Olsen has been working with Te Manawa O Tuhoe Trust and their predecessors in progressing the harvesting and marketing of Te Ahimanawa Forest in the upper Ruatoki Valley in the Bay of Plenty since early 2010. This month, the hard work of the current trustees and PF Olsen finally came to fruition with the commencement of harvesting after a well-attended Karakia on site.

The forest consists of 153.5 hectares of good quality pruned resource established between 1981 and 1983 and is governed by the Te Manawa O Tuhoe Trust. The Trust also governs land leased to GMO and OTPP (forest investors) in Tuhoe. In its day to day workings, the Trust has worked hard to show the local community that the interests of local people will be at the forefront of all facets of the project. In light of this, the community has supported the Trust in moving ahead to harvest.

Operations have commenced using local harvesting, cartage and earthworks personnel. PF Olsen has been fortunate to be able to engage contractors that have strong affiliation to the area – and whom are tried and tested with PF Olsen in Tuhoe Forest within the OTPP estate.

W&K Logging Ltd has been working in Tuhoe Forest with PF Olsen since March 2012. W&K have been able to split their crew to provide road-line and ground-based harvesting in Ahimanawa while still meeting It's commitments with OTPP in Tuhoe Forest. A local Tuhoe trucking company is subcontracted to FDL with John Mika bolstering his fleet to accommodate the increased volume from the Tuhoe area while Wilson Brothers are providing the earthworks services.

To address the increase of logging traffic on the local roads, Te Manawa O Tuhoe has supplied radios for the school bus and Te Wananga passenger transport vans. Speed restriction signage, benching earthworks to improve sight distances and vegetation removal have also been undertaken on the public road through to Owhakatoro to improve road safety.

Most of the log volume is currently being sold for export via the Port of Tauranga with the domestic pulp going to Kawerau. The sales solution for pruned and structural saw logs may change with housing in the US picking up along with the anticipated Christchurch rebuild and continued Auckland development. The sales solution will remain relatively fluid with interests of the beneficiaries held at the forefront of all decision making with the Trust consulted on all log sales decisions.

Harvesting is expected to take two years with the hauler harvesting system expected to commence in April 2013.

In commemoration of the start of harvesting at Te Ahimanawa forest a tree faller from W&K Logging Ltd prepares to fell the first tree at the opening Karakia.