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Usually, if you deforest pre-1990 forest land, you must pay New Zealand Units (NZUs or units) to the government. There are some exceptions for deforesting small areas and for natural events. Pre-1990 forest land may also be "exempt", which means you can deforest it without having to tell us or pay units. If your land is eligible for an exemption, you can apply for one.
When pre-1990 forest land is granted an exemption, a notice is added to the land title. This is called a "notice of status of forest land". You or a lawyer can check the land title with Land Information New Zealand to see if land has been made exempt.