Waro Project

Waro: Reaching out to Māori landowners in Tairāwhiti to support carbon farming of native forests

Motu is working on the Waro Project with Hikurangi Enterprises to connect with Māori landowners. The aim of this project is to increase the role that native forests can play in helping to bring economic, environment and social benefits to Māori on the East Cape. The project has its own website here.

The Waro Project

NuhutiQ Gisborne Herald

copyright Gisborne Herald

The Waro Project is a 3-year partnership (2018 – 2020) between Hikurangi Enterprises and Motu, funded by the Ministry of Primary Industries.

The goal of the Waro Project is essentially to help identify the opportunities and barriers to reforesting Māori land in Tairāwhiti with native trees with support from the NZ Emissions Trading Scheme.

Is Your Land Eligible?

Waro Static Map JPEGDo you own marginally productive pasture land that doesn’t get much money from selling sheep or beef stock? Are you interested in diversifying into environmentally-friendly natives? Did you know that you could get money from the government for repurposing your land?

Funding programs like the Emissions Trading Scheme and the Erosion Control Funding Programme offer landowners in the East Cape a good opportunity to make money on the repurposing of pasture land into forest. All land eligible for the Erosion Control Funding Programme is also eligible for the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Motu has created a mapping tool that Māori landowners can use to assess the eligibility of their land for Emissions Trading Scheme and Erosion Control Funding Programme funding (please note that it does not show which land is already reverting to natives and/or entered into the Emissions Trading Scheme). The map will let a landowner find their land, and then click on it to see:

  • how much of their block is likely to qualify for Emissions Trading Scheme and Erosion Control Funding Programme funding,
  • how much is likely to qualify only for Emissions Trading Scheme funding, and
  • how much of their land does not qualify for funding.

Landowners can then plug these numbers into a calculator created by Motu to see an estimate of how much money they would make by re-purposing their land into forest. You must not rely on the information in this calculator as an alternative to advice from an appropriately qualified professional.  If you have any specific questions about any  matter you should consult an appropriately qualified professional.

The calculator allows you to change the:

  • current NZU price,
  • rate at which you expect this price to increase over time,
  • age of existing trees (if any),
  • discount rate (in order to calculate earnings in present-day dollars),
  • per hectare cost to establish native forest, and
  • number of hectares you have available.

The tool will then calculate:

  • the cash you could receive upfront for 20 years of carbon credits in advance,
  • the revenue after accounting for establishment costs and financial support from funding programmes,
  • a steady annual flow of income, and
  • the cash that would be owed if you cleared your land of trees in 20 years’ time.

If the map tool doesn’t work on your computer, you can download a less interactive version, and search for your block on this downloadable spreadsheet to see how much of your land is likely to be eligible for the Emissions Trading Scheme and Erosion Control Funding Programme.

Engaging with Landowners

One of the ways the Waro Project is going to bring economic, environment and social benefits to Māori on the East Capel is by engaging with Māori landowners interested in participating in the NZ Emissions Trading Scheme as they go through the process of putting their native forestry into the Scheme, and secure, engage and contract with buyers for the carbon credits they earn from their native forests.

We want to understand and document the decision-making, negotiations, engagement and experiences of those landowners to provide insights on how communities and landowners can efficiently use carbon markets to encourage increased profitable native forest regeneration on Māori land in Tairāwhiti and how other key groups can make profitable native reforestation easier.

As part of this project, the project team have created some videos talking with people who have already been involved in carbon farming in Tairāwhiti.

Check out what the landowner (Nikki Searancke, Chairperson of NuhutiQ) has to say.

Find out how the emitter (David Bodger, GM of Gull NZ) works with local landowners.

Discover how the consultant (Bryan McKinlay of Eastern NZ Forestry Ltd) can help.

Learn about how local government grants (Kerry Hudson from Gisborne District Council) can support entry to the emissions trading scheme.

We are also creating some tools to create a helpful, transparent and accessible pathway for Māori landowners to follow. Tools such as a decision tree, a calculator and standardised contract templates will also be created alongside this project.

Interested to learn more or be involved? Contact the Hikurangi Group.

Working Paper



Ministry for Primary Industries