Te Arawa and Sealord are collaborating to transform unproductive land into native forest around the Rotorua region. Sealord will invest $10 million over ten years into a carbon offset programme, Ara Rākau, aiming to counteract some of the carbon from Sealord’s activities.
This project, designed by Te Arawa Fisheries and New Zealand Carbon Farming, seeks to maximise land use, provide jobs, improve family outcomes, and boost local environmental health, including the water quality of Te Arawa lakes.
Te Arawa Fisheries CEO, Chris Karamea Insley, highlights the benefits of the carbon economy for Māori and New Zealand’s overall climate objectives. Chris stated the programme represents a significant opportunity for Māori, benefiting the economy, culture, society, and environment.
Sealord CEO, Doug Paulin, emphasised the company’s dedication to sustainability and their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint by 23.7% since 2019. Doug acknowledged the limitations in making more significant carbon reductions within their operations and sees this partnership as a long-term plan for further offsetting their carbon emissions.
The physical planting and forest management will be handled by New Zealand Carbon Farming. Director Matt Walsh expressed excitement about the partnership, noting it offers a chance to address climate change and biodiversity loss issues. The project will incorporate Māori knowledge to ensure best practices and aims to transition to a biodiverse native environment, offering environmental and local development benefits.