A New Zealand Falcon.

New Zealand Falcon

Filmmaker Sandy Crichton spent three years in Wenita’s forests, creating an award-winning documentary about the life of the New Zealand falcon. Find out more at karearea.com, or watch the trailer .


Safety – for our staff, contractors and visitors – is a priority for Wenita. We promote best practice in all areas of our operations, from safe harvesting to fire prevention and transport, and work hard to develop a culture of safety and responsibility throughout the organisation. We have developed strict safety guidelines for visitors accessing the forest, and we expect everyone to adhere to these.  Wenita investigates any accidents, and maintains a register of accidents, which summary statistics are available from on request.

Worker cutting a tree down. Man sitting in front of a controller.

At Wenita, we value the incredible natural environment we are lucky enough to work within, and believe that producing sustainable and renewable products is environmentally important. In doing so, we want to minimise any adverse effects on the immediate environment, and do what we can to promote and protect the many species with which our operations coexist. Wenita has Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification, and has developed environmental policies to guide our practice.

Habitat assessment
Wenita forests were identified as important nesting sites for the New Zealand falcon and fernbird, species identified as having conservation priority. Fernbirds (matata) are famously shy and a treat for those observant enough to spot them, while New Zealand falcons (karearea) never fail to impress those who see them in action. We are committed to locating and protecting their nesting sites where possible, and monitoring the behaviour of these birds.  A bird survey covering areas of the estate due for harvest over the next 5 years was completed in October 2015 by Graham Parker of Parker Conservaton, and his report is available here.

Hundreds of hectares of wetlands and native bush on Wenita’s estate are protected. Wenita’s indigenous habitat survey identified 1400 hectares of reserve areas, which are now subject to detailed management plans.  Surveys include native bush areas in the Scroggs Hill, Moeraki Bush, and Nugget Stream blocks of the FF9 Clutha forests. Also within the Fallaburn Block of the FF9 Clutha forests, a monitoring report of a QE2 covenant area. There have also been assessments of two native bush areas in the Hope Hill Block (off Big Stone Road, near Brighton), the Otokia Stream Bush, and the Susan Road Bush. Recent assessments of Protective Covenant Areas at McLaren Gully Road Bush, Pophams Block Bush, and Morrisons Block Bush have been completed.


Creek surrounded by grassland.

Stream health monitoring
Stream health monitoring has been undertaken in 10 major forest catchment streams since 2001. These show the streams to be in a healthy condition forest-wide, with some fluctuations in quality. Further projects aim to understand more about the impact and recovery cycles of rivers where intensive operations are being carried out. This will help with ongoing stream health management.  For the latest stream health monitoring report (Spring 2017) click here.

A seedling pine.

Site disturbance
While forestry has many beneficial impacts on soil quality, Wenita is concerned to minimise any adverse effects. Wenita has developed an innovative photometric technique for assessing harvested areas for the amount of soil disturbance.  This method, using aerial photography calibrated by accurate ground surveys, shows exciting promise in quantitatively comparing harvesting systems and contractor performance.  

A wooden playground. A large lodge in pine forest. A kitchen.

Community Projects

Otago Youth Adventure Trust
Wenita is pleased to accommodate Berwick Lodge in our Berwick Forest. This lodge provides accommodation and a wide range of outdoor activities including confidence course, tramping, and kayaking, to many different groups of adults and children.

A rally car driven by Emma Gilmore

NZ Rally Championships
Each year local and international competitors look forward to testing themselves on challenging stages through Wenita Forests.

Emma Gilmore competing in the Wenita forestry 2011
Photo: © copyright Geoff Ridder

Firewood Donations
Wenita periodically holds open days allowing the public to collect firewood in a safe and supervised environment. Profits have been donated to Otago Rescue Helicopters, Pike River Miners and Otago Rugby Youth Development.

Wenita’s forests are fascinating environments for learners of all ages – whether they are visiting on a school trip or for their postgraduate research projects. University students are regularly employed to gather mid-rotation and pre-harvest inventory information, or for special one-off projects such as stream monitoring, flora and fauna surveys.

Young pruned pine trees.

The breadth and scope of Wenita’s forests have attracted many researchers wanting to know more about the species that live in this environment.  Wenita is pleased to work with organisations interested in carrying out research in areas that support our goals for sustainability, efficiency and safety.


Tree bark. Cut end of a pine log with a Wenita stamp. Worker pruning a tree.

Sustainable Radiata Pine
Radiata pine is perhaps New Zealand’s best-known and well-used construction timber. The reasons for its popularity are also why it is increasingly recognised by users and specifiers as a responsible and sustainable choice.
It is fast-growing and widely available, alleviating pressure on indigenous, rare and slower-growing forest species. Indeed, radiata pine is particularly well suited to New Zealand conditions, growing faster – and therefore more sustainably – here than almost anywhere else in the world. Because it thrives in temperate climates and on a wide range of sites, it makes an ideal complement to other land uses such as farming.
Radiata pine produces a very even, uniform timber that saws, machines, nails and glues well and accepts a wide variety of paints and treatments. It is suitable for many uses, from pulp and paper products, packaging and plywood veneers to furniture and decorative mouldings. Applied technical processes such as hardening have further extended the range of uses.
Further, forestry in New Zealand significantly absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, reducing an important greenhouse gas. While some carbon is released during harvesting processes, most of the carbon contained within trees is stored for the life of the timber.

Forest Health Monitoring
Each year Wenita's forests are independently assessed for any health threats, such as might be caused by disease, nutrient deficiency, insects, fungi or other threat. The current year's monitoring reports can be downloaded for: Berwick Forest,
Mt Allan and Otago Coast Forests,
and the FF9 Clutha Forests (formerly Fulton Hogan blocks).


Historic Sites

Two previously unrecorded sites were discovered during logging operations in Mt Allan Forest. One was an old goldmining site, an archaeological report about the area was completed by Southern Pacific Archaeological Research, Otago University. An old stone miner's hut was discovered (September 2015) during a land clearing operation at Mt Allan near the Taieri Gorge railway line. The Mt Allan post-harvest archaeological report describes both these sites: Mt Allan Post Harvest Report.

Wenita has some archaeological reports written when blocks were originally acquired by the Forest Service. These will be digitised and made available. So far, we have: The Archaeology and European History of the Cuttance Block, The Archaeology and European History of the Wangaloa Block, The Archaeology and European History of the Hope Hill Block, The Archaeology and European History of the Pophams, Morrisons, and Moneymore Blocks, and Archeaological Inspection - The Allanton and Wilson Blocks.. Archaeological reports for Scroggs Hill, Moeraki Bush, and Nugget Stream blocks of the FF9 Clutha forests were commissioned by the previous owner Fulton Hogan.


High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF) areas
Wenita has identified five HCVF areas within its forests.  They are:
Halfway Road native forest reserve, Berwick Forest
Redpath Road Bog, Berwick Forest
Office Creek Seepage, Maungatua block, Berwick Forest
Maungatua Galaxiid Riparian zones
Moeraki Bush native forest reserve, Otokia.

Wenita again consulted with stakeholders during 2016, to identify whether any additional HCVF areas should be added. As a result of this process, the Maungatua Galaxiid Riparian zones were added, on the basis of HCV1: Areas containing globally, regionally or nationally significant concentrations of biodiversity values, being the presence of the endangered galaxias species, and the Moeraki Bush native forest reserve areas were added on the basis of HCV3: Forest areas that are in or contain rare, threatened or endangered ecosystems.
Management plans for the HCVFs are available on request from the Mosgiel office.   Annual monitoring of the HCVF sites was carried out in June 2017, and the observations made are available:  Halfway Road Native Reserve, Repath Road Bog, Office Creek Seepage.


Otokia Stream Riparian Restoration Project
Otokia Stream Riparian Project.

Wenita has begun a project to improve the Otokia Stream environment, by enhancement plantings of native species along the stream banks. The first rotation of pine trees were planted right up to the stream banks, which made harvesting of the trees without damaging the stream difficult. The logging contractor did a good job of protecting the stream, and the landprep contractor moved remaining residues away from the banks. Our FSC auditor recommended assessing the site as a possible riparian enhancement project, and Spiralis Consultancy produced this Stream Restoration Project report, which recommended the project proceed. Native plants were sourced from Pukerau and Ribbonwood nurseries, and planting began during September 2014. A project update describing Stage 2 plantings (2017) can be found here 

Neighbours Survey

Wenita routinely surveys its neighbours to find out what impacts we are having on the surrounding community. Click here for a summary of the most recent survey responses. 



NZ Falcon Research Project
Wenita is co-funding a 3 year research programme (together with City Forests, Otago Regional Council, and others), to investigate breeding success of Kārearea in plantation forests. The research is being carried out by Graham Parker of Parker Conservation. The report for the first year is attached here. The second year report is now available on request.

Falcon Survival after 1080 pest control operation - Mt Allan Forest
Wenita engaged Parker Conservation to assess the population of Karearea in Mt Allan Forest prior to and after the 2016 1080 operation.  No falcon mortality was detected.  The report is linked here.