Harvesting and milling indigenous timber

Find out about harvesting and milling indigenous timber, the controls around it and the approvals you may need.

Options for private forest owners

Owners of indigenous forests on private land have several options if they wish to harvest and mill their trees:

  • sustainable forest management (SFM) plans
  • sustainable forest management (SFM) permits
  • personal use approvals for the harvesting and milling of indigenous timber.

SFM permits can be applied to forests of any size but are best suited to small forests that may not justify the resources required to prepare a full SFM plan.

The milling of indigenous timber can also be authorised through milling statements issued under specific circumstances. Statements must verify the timber as having originated from an recognised source.

An recognised source may include:

  • naturally dead or wind-thrown trees
  • salvaged timber
  • timber removed for the construction of an access way
  • timber from specified Māori land.

Registered sustainable forests

There are just over 50 SFM plans and around 150 SFM permits registered with MPI. Data on each of these is available for public access.

Obtaining resource consent

It is your responsibility to obtain any resource consents necessary for the felling or clearance of indigenous trees and plants.

Contact your regional or district council for information on resource consents.

Registering a sawmill

Indigenous timber must be milled by sawmills registered with MPI. Milling timber at an un-registered mill is an offence under the Forests Act.

A registered sawmill may mill any indigenous timber which has harvesting or milling approval from MPI.

The sawmill registration year runs from 1 July to 30 June the following year. If after 30 June you wish to continue milling indigenous timber you must re-register your sawmill.

Registered sawmills must provide MPI with returns of all indigenous timber received at the mill for processing every 3 months.

Sawmill registration forms

An application must be completed by anyone wishing to register a sawmill or change the ownership details of an already-registered sawmill.

Who to contact

If you have questions about the information on this page, email indigenous.forestry@mpi.govt.nz.

Last reviewed: