Two freehold blocks of farm land in Opotiki, suitable for forestry carbon farming or apiaries, are for sale.
The two blocks, at 185B Gaskill Rd, cover 75.6ha and have been used for mixed grazing.
Subdivided from a larger farm, the first 36.9ha block is a mix of flat and easy rolling hills and steeper land. It is divided into nine paddocks with post and wire fencing.
The second 38.7ha block is predominantly hill country covered in regenerating manuka. It has some post and wire fencing but no boundary fencing.
Subdivision of the two blocks is expected to take about six months before new titles are issued.
Meantime, the two are being marketed as one whole block or two individual blocks by Bayleys Whakatane salesperson Rhys Mischefski for sale by tender, with tenders closing on August 22.
Mischefski said a small stream runs through the first block, although there is no running water or services. The regenerated manuka on the second block is about 30-years-old. "It has thrived in Opotiki's mild coastal climate," he said.
A small quarry on the farm is used only for tracks. "Both blocks are well tracked and have good access through the neighbouring dairy farm.
"They will appeal to a variety of buyers, as a grazing support block,, a manuka block for honey production, forestry or carbon farming. "Seventeen beehives are on the manuka trees and the honey producing plantation could be extended over the entire two blocks," he said.
The global craze for manuka honey, highly valued for its medicinal properties, has created a gold rush in rural areas.
In 2017, a record haul of nearly 20,000 tonnes of honey was produced, a 15 per cent increase on 2016. Nine years ago the top price for bulk manuka honey was $37.50/kg, now it can command more than $100/kg.
The manuka tree grows only in New Zealand and 20ha is considered the minimum size for a viable commercial plantation, with a recommended planting rate of 1100 plants per hectare.
But planting manuka for honey production is a long-term investment. It begins flowering in years four and five, but it takes a further six years to reach full production. In the best case scenario manuka could yield a return of $4300 a hectare, and some experts predict it could become a $1.2 billion a year industry by 2028.
Mischefski said the production of manuka honey, along with programmes such as New Zealand's emissions trading scheme are providing economic incentives to land owners who let their land revert to native cover.
"The two blocks of land for sale do not have any carbon credits attached to them, but forestry farming for carbon credits is now a viable option and interest is high from farmers, land owners and international corporations needing carbon offsets for their businesses."
In New Zealand, the first forest carbon transactions took place in 2009 following the NZ Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) legislation.
The principle behind carbon forestry is that, by photosynthesis, a growing tree absorbs and converts CO2 from the atmosphere into carbon in the form of wood. The CO2 stored each year in the tree can be calculated and sold in units equivalent to tonnes of CO2 — a carbon credit.