How much are you prepared to gamble on the success of the Government's "billion trees" scheme?



How about $540,000?


If you're confident, a hill country farm that has just come on the market could be the ultimate wager on Shane Jones and the coalition Government.

Te Puna Station, just north of Wairoa in Northern Hawke's Bay, is a 1594ha property which has some 80ha of hillside planted in manuka – the preferred vegetation of apiarists because of the plant's appeal to bees.

The 80ha of 'unique manuka factor' plantings on Te Puna Station were laid down in 2016 under the then Government's Afforestation Grant Scheme (AGS) programme at a ratio of 1000 stems per hectare.

The farm is now in a prime position to capitalise from the "billion trees" funding scheme announced at the end of last year, but its owners want to sell up.

The UMF (unique manuka factor) rating for honey is a trademarked grading system which allows honey to be tested for the percentage and strength of manuka enzymes in honey.

The higher the UMF rating, the more valuable the honey is assessed at on the open market.

Te Puna's owners received $1300 per hectare under the programme – spending the one-off income injection to plant manuka, as well as on fencing maintenance and improvements.

Last year, the AGS scheme was replaced by the Government's much-vaunted One Billion Trees Fund - where new manuka and kanuka plantings are eligible to qualify for subsidies of up $1800/ha for new forested conversions of up to 300ha of dry stock or dairy farm land.


Implementation of the new One Billion Trees Fund means any new owner of Te Puna can apply for a second manuka planting grant - which could net as much as $540,000 if processed.

Te Puna Station ranges from 120 metres above sea level to 740 metres, and receives more than two metres of rainfall annually.

Stock records show Te Puna Station has carried 9477 stock units over the 2018 winter and has budgeted to carry 10,013 for the 2019 winter.

The freehold property at 2775 Mangapoike Rd is being marketed for sale by tender through Bayleys Hawke's Bay, with tenders closing at 4pm on March 7.

Bayleys Hawke's Bay salesmen Tony Rasmussen and Simon Bousfield said the potential of receiving a six-figure contribution from the Government's One Billion Trees Fund would be attractive for many potential buyers.

"With a substantial portion of Te Puna Station's topography rated as 'steep', there is the obvious economic potential and benefit to apportion up to an additional 300ha of land into more manuka plantings under the One Billion Trees Fund – thereby enhancing the mixed use revenues already emanating from the property.

"The Government's planting incentive of $1800 per hectare for native trees and shrubs is also well above the rate of $1500 per hectare for exotic plantings such as eucalyptus, redwood, or pinus radiata.

"By working in conjunction with apiarists and introducing the hosting of hives to converted manuka plantings within the block, a new owner of Te Puna station is in the envious position of diversifying their revenue streams – and getting funding to do so in the process. It's a triple-win scenario ... benefiting the environment, the local economy, and of course the land owner," Rasmussen said.