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Historic Raincliff Rainforest Protected



Protection of the unique and historic 83ha Raincliff Forest near Timaru has been assured.

The forest, which has 100 year old trees, is to be vested in a trust yet to be formed, to protect it for the enjoyment of future generations of New Zealanders.

A part of the 5400ha Geraldine Block, the Raincliff Forest is being gifted to the new trust by New Zealand forestry company, Blakely Pacific Ltd.

The company has just completed negotiations with Ngai Tahu, after gaining OIC approval this week, to buy the Geraldine Block, as well as the 4600ha Herbert Forest near Oamaru.

Blakely Pacific managing director Michael Buchanan said settlement with Ngai Tahu was scheduled for February 25, but was likely to occur earlier.

Mr Buchanan said the management style of the company is sustainable yield and has been since 1864.

The company's purchase of the two forests is a long term involvement and it is committed to working with Ngai Tahu, DOC, other agencies and the community over protection of endangered species and other sensitive areas.

Blakely Pacific is a New Zealand registered company, owned by a small Seattle-based family-owned firm, which has about 60,000 ha of American forests, employing about 60 people.

It has forestry interests in the Bay of Plenty and other South Island areas, having been granted permission from the OIC to purchase 12 separate properties since 1994.

Mr Buchanan said all Blakely Pacific employees are New Zealanders and the company has built up an excellent environmental record as well as being recognised as a good corporate citizen.

Initiatives have included funding a local fire brigade on Matakana Island in the Bay of Plenty and helping islanders win a battle to stop raw sewage being dumped off the Matakana Island coastline.

Blakely Pacific has also help fund a Department of Conservation programme working to save the endangered Dotteral, which nests on Matakana Island.

In the South Island, the company has provided much needed employment in the Waimate area, creating up to 100 jobs.



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