Three reports published today by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) provide information on the scientific and cultural values of swamp kauri and its distribution and remaining volume in the Northland region.
In 2015, the Auditor-General reviewed the regulation of the milling and export of swamp kauri by MPI, and was satisfied that it was being carried out effectively. However, she suggested that it would be useful to compile and make publicly available information regarding the quantity of the swamp kauri resource, and to gain an appreciation of its cultural and scientific value.
MPI supported this suggestion and commissioned the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) to map the volume and distribution of swamp kauri across Northland and review its scientific value, and commissioned Extent Heritage Ltd to explore its cultural and heritage value.
Bryan Wilson, Deputy Director General Regulation and Assurance at MPI, said: "These reports provide new and valuable information on swamp kauri. The first report provides a comprehensive assessment of Northland's swamp kauri resource. NIWA's best estimate is that somewhere between 50% and 70% of Northland swamp kauri remains in the ground. This is the first time an attempt has been made to assess the swamp kauri resource.
"The other reports commissioned by MPI have found that swamp kauri holds significant value for New Zealanders, due to its age, appearance, and its cultural properties. They also highlight swamp kauri's scientific value in helping to understand the natural history of New Zealand, and its contribution to understanding the effects of climate change.
"These are valuable pieces of research that will assist MPI and Northland Regional Council (NRC) in their respective regulatory roles. They also contain recommendations on how to maintain the identified values, which MPI will work through with local councils, the wider industry, and other interested parties.
"MPI has a long-standing commitment to ensuring that all information and regulatory activity on swamp kauri is publically available. These reports can be found on the MPI website from today along with a wide range of information including other research, regulatory information, quarterly reporting on milling and exporting, and a catalogue of MPI's responses to Official Information Act requests," he said.
MPI will continue to maintain a high level of regulatory oversight of swamp kauri. This includes working with NRC and their resource consent process. All of MPI's current processes, including the inspection of proposed extraction sites before, during, and after extraction will continue.