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Landmark Invercargil City Forests estate in South Island for sale

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A substantial estate of 14 South Island forests is for sale following Invercargill City Council’s decision to divest its forestry assets.

The forests in Southland, Otago and Nelson/Marlborough have a combined area of 3,599ha and a total productive area of 3,058ha, predominantly stocked with radiata pine.

They have been maintained and managed to a high level under a full silviculture regime to ensure the trees provide multiple options at harvest time.

All of the forests are located in regions that are well known for their quality forest crops, as well as providing excellent access to domestic processing and export options.

The estate is being sold by Invercargill City Forests Limited – a subsidiary of Invercargill City Council’s holding company, Invercargill City Holdings Limited.

The decision to divest was made last year after a review of the holding company’s investments in relation to the strategic objectives agreed with council.

Colliers International’s specialist Forestry Sales team has been exclusively appointed to market the estate for sale by way of a two-stage expressions of interest campaign.

Forestry Director Warwick Searle says it is a rare opportunity to secure a cornerstone holding in the New Zealand forestry market.

“With locations that offer access to both quality domestic processors and efficient export log ports, this is a superb opportunity to own an exceptional estate in well-established forestry regions.

“The forests have a total stocked area of 2,999ha, principally established with radiata pine as well as smaller sections of douglas fir and other minor species.

“A further 59ha is awaiting replanting while the remaining freehold land has either been land-banked or is unproductive.

“The age profile of the estate is bimodal, with substantial areas planted between 1994 and 2000, plus a significant portion of the estate established from 2012 to 2019.

“The estate can be purchased in entirety or separately by region, with flexibility around the purchase of Les Pullar Forest in South Otago, which is uniquely positioned between the Southland and Otago portions of the estate.”

Forestry Broker Angus Robertson says the Southland portion of the estate comprises nine forests with a total combined gross area of 2,442ha and a productive area of 2,009ha.

“The Southland forests have been professionally managed under a majority clearwood regime comprising two thinnings and three pruning lifts. The result is an outstanding crop with good form.

“Significant roading and harvest infrastructure throughout most of the Southland estate will be invaluable to the new owner come harvest.”

The Southland forests comprise:

  • Seaward Bush Forest, a flat 87.45ha forest on the outskirts of Invercargill. The net stocked area of 73.27ha is primarily planted in radiata pine.
  • Warren Conway Forest, a 122.89ha forest located northeast of Invercargill. The net stocked area of 85.57ha was mostly established in 2014 along with 5.71ha established in 1992.
  • Alastair McKenzie Forest, which is the largest in the portfolio at 835.46ha, located west of the township of Dipton. It has a net stocked area of 750.5ha comprising a mixed aged class of predominantly radiata pine, suitable for a mix of ground- and hauler-based harvesting.
  • Christmas Forest, a 34.4ha forest located east of Dipton. It is currently in cutover state, awaiting replanting, along with 1.61ha of radiata pine established in 2001.
  • Anderson Forest, the smallest in the portfolio at 32.94ha, located just north of Christmas Forest. It has a net stocked area of 25.74ha, predominantly comprising radiata pine established between 1994 and 1999, plus a small area of macrocarpa established in 1997.
  • Cam McCulloch Forest, a flat 134.04ha forest overlooking Mossburn from the south. It comprises 78ha of radiata pine established between 1994 and 1999, and a further 22.48ha planted in 2019. An additional 5ha of douglas fir was planted in 1993.
  • Dunrobin Forest, a 630.26ha forest south of Mossburn with extensive roading and harvest infrastructure to support a mix of ground- and hauler-based harvesting. Its net stocked area of 480.62ha comprises mainly radiata pine and douglas fir, with a further 21.33ha awaiting replanting.
  • Monowai Forest, a 288.2ha forest on undulating terrain on the western edge of the Waiau River. Its net stocked area of 190.03ha comprises a mixed age class of predominantly radiata pine with smaller areas of douglas fir and macrocarpa.
  • Whare Creek Forest, a very flat second-rotation forest of 276.56ha just south of Manapouri. Its net stocked area of 233.38ha comprises predominantly radiata pine established from 1999 to 2016. The crop is demonstrating excellent form and branching, which will result in high grading logs at harvest.

The three Otago forests have a combined gross area of 946ha and a net stocked area of 890ha.

The near-mature crop has been professionally managed, receiving two thinnings and three pruning lifts, focusing on producing long length pruned logs. The younger crop is well established with high survival rates.

The Otago forests comprise:

  • Les Pullar Forest, a 242.09ha forest in South Otago, located on hills above the Tokomairiro River between Balclutha and Milton. Its net stocked area of 228ha is solely planted in radiata pine, established between 1997-1999 and 2015, and suited to ground- and hauler-based harvesting.
  • Mount Trotter Forest, the largest of the Otago forests at 584.81ha. Located southeast of Palmerston, some 32km north of Dunedin, it will require a mix of ground- and hauler-based harvesting. Its net stocked area of 553.31ha is solely planted in radiata pine, established between 2012 and 2014.
  • Chinook Forest, a 118.68ha forest located just east of Mount Trotter Forest. The exclusively radiata forest has a net stocked area of 109.37ha, established in 1997 on undulating to easy ridges, suited to ground-based extraction.

The two forests in Nelson/Marlborough have a combined gross area of 211ha and a net stocked area of 159ha. Both have shown exceptional growth rates, typical with the region.

The Nelson/Marlborough forests comprise:

  • Mangles Forest, a 137.99ha forest on Mangles Valley Road at Tutaki. Established on steeper terrain, it comprises 107.08ha of radiata pine, douglas fir and some minor species that will predominantly require hauler-based harvesting.
  • Tapawera Forest, a 73.34ha forest in the Tapawera area that was established exclusively with radiata pine in 2000. Its net stocked area of 55.77ha is mostly suited to ground-based harvesting.

The estate has 1,300.32ha of post-1989 registered forest under the Emissions Trading Scheme. The vendor will repay the liability for all previously sold carbon credits to ensure the successful purchaser incurs no financial liability if the estate is replanted in perpetuity.

The Southland and Otago forests offer excellent access to export markets at South Port in Bluff and Port Chalmers in Dunedin. Domestic processors include Otago Lumber, Pan Pac, Gorton Timber, Daiken, Stuart Timber, Craigpine and Niagara.

The Nelson/Marlborough forests also have two export options at Port Nelson and Picton Port. Domestic processors include Motueka Lumber, Prowood, Nelson Pine, Goldpine, CHH Wood Products, South Pine, XLAM, Kaituna Sawmill and Timberlink.

Expressions of interest close at 4pm on Thursday 19 March, after which shortlisted parties will be invited to participate in the second stage of the process.

Related Experts

Warwick Searle


Auckland Forestry

Warwick has a business degree in Accountancy and Property along with almost a decade of experience in the New Zealand rural property market ensuring you receive professional, knowledgeable service from start to finish.  

Specializing in forestry sales and transacting the bulk of the on market forests in the last few years Warwick fully understands the NZ market from small woodlots through to large scale forest estates and how it can best work for you.

View expert

Angus Robertson


Auckland Forestry

Angus has a strong finance background, this accompanied by his facilitation of some large forestry transactions  gives him an in depth understand of the NZ forestry market. Angus brings youth and enthusiasm to each transaction to ensure a comprehensive sales process with all avenues explored.

View expert
ICC Forest Estate - Colliers International
Invercargill City Forests web