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Right Tree Right Place

We are on a mission to reduce Hawke’s Bay’s significant erosion challenges. Planting the right trees in the right places is the most effective way to slow erosion, improve freshwater quality, and build resilient farms to climate change.

What is Right Tree Right Place?

We are looking to partner with private landowners, investors and forestry companies to offer a tree planting solution on marginal farmland that maintains and enhances the pastoral farming system. Check out our case study video on this page.

We are running a pilot trial on up to five farms to understand the details in set-up costs, partnership and delivery options.

Under the trial, we would offer a loan to landowners to plant trees on their erodible land, and manuka honey,carbon and timber are being considered, with the greatest potential to deliver a return.

We are working with significant private investors to develop this programme.

Partnership with The Nature Conservancy

We are partnering with the global environmental organisation The Nature Conservancy on the RTRP project.

TNC is evaluating a $50-$100 million scale-up opportunity to understand how RTRP can go from a pilot phase to a programme that can be implemented across Hawke’s Bay.


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The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is a global, science-based conservation organisation founded in 1951 and dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends.

Through its impact investment unit, NatureVest, TNC collaborates around the world to source and structure investment products that seek to generate both financial returns and conservation outcomes at scale. NatureVest was created in 2014 with founding sponsorship from JPMorgan Chase with the stated goal of sourcing and putting to work at least $1 billion of impact investment capital for measurable conservation outcomes over NatureVest’s first three years.

In New Zealand, one of TNC’s goals is to achieve measurable reductions in the intensity of freshwater use and in the contamination of priority catchments. The organisation has completed a high-level assesment of the RTRP project and believes it could be structured to attract investment for a large-scale tree planting programme, alongside regenerative agricultural practices, to improve farm management and water quality outcomes.

TNC is undertaking due diligence on the opportunity, which if satisfactory, could enable the group to significantly scale-up and expand on the RTRP concept using impact investing.

In order for the Council to achieve its strategic goal of all highly erodible land under tree cover by 2050, we need to plant trees at scale. TNC has significant international experience in structuring investment projects at scale with significant environmental benefits.

TNC brings considerable credibility, expertise and networks from similar environmental projects, and can introduce private and institutional investors to RTRP who share a common interest in investing in sustainability and ecosystem protection.

RTRP needs to integrate economics, environmental outcomes, supply chain constraints, landowner personal preferences and iwi and hapu values in the development of the programme — and TNC can help with this.

Yes. Investment to RTRP is not exclusive to TNC and its investment networks. The aim is to develop an investment framework that delivers investment returns, environmental outcomes and landowners’ vision for their land.

The Council is investing $4.8 million to fund pilots on up to five farms across the region. The partnership with TNC will allow the Council to leverage this investment by attracting external impact investment to implement a programme at scale.


TNC is evaluating a $50-100 million dollar scale-up opportunity.


The region’s largest water quality issue is sediment from erosion of soils. One of our key strategic goals is that by 2050, all highly erodible land is under tree cover.

We support farmers to develop more resilient and sustainable farming operations, and have solid partnerships with the farming community. Our catchment advisors will introduce the Right Tree Right Place project to farmers, support them to take part in the project, and help in tree species selection and the development of a RTRP project, by bringing in forestry specialists and other experts.


 TNC sources its funds from a range of commerical companies, funds and philanthropic investors, including investors in New Zealand.

About 252,000 hectares of Hawke’s Bay hill country has been identified as being at high risk of erosion and around 6.8 million tonnes of sediment enters our waterways every year, with a detrimental impact on freshwater and marine quality, and aquatic life.

The soil being lost from our hill country cannot be replaced, is the basis of hill country farming and is having a significant economic and environmental effect on farmers and the land.

No. The aim is to only plant trees on land which is erodible and suitable for trees. It is estimated about 5 - 20% of any farm will be planted in trees.  Options to improve the economic and environmental outcomes from the unplanted areas of the farms will also be investigated as part of the due diligence that TNC are undertaking.

Right Tree Right Place is a way for farmers to get a good return from erosion prone land and potentially support a diversified farm system, keeping the farm in the family across generations. It can provide revenue to develop and improve the balance of the pastoral farm, and support environmental stewardship. It is also an economically viable alternative to whole farm afforestation.

The Regional Council will work with the landowner to set up a financial arrangement that will fund the project and may enter into a finance agreement with the landowner.

Council investment will be repaid from the revenue stream generated from the planting in the form of ETS returns, honey and/or timber - income over and above that required to service Council investment will go to the farmer.


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Why would I farm using Right Tree Right Place?

Our Right Tree Right Place programme is a way for farmers to get a good return and potentially supports keeping the farm in the family across generations. It can provide revenue to develop their pastoral farm, and support the environment. It is an economically viable alternative to whole farm afforestation.

We are looking at land in Hawke’s Bay which is economically marginal for pastoral farming and it is difficult to farm. This land is well suited to trees, potentially delivering much greater returns to farmers.

Why are we doing this?

We need an innovative, transformational scheme to slow erosion, improve freshwater quality, and prepare the region for climate change.

Around 136,000 truck and trailer loads or 1090 Olympic sized swimming pools of sediment fall in to our waterways each year. This has significant impacts on water quality and the aquatic and terrestrial life that depends on it.

A partnership with us through Right Tree Right Place will improve environmental outcomes and support rural communities.

For Farmers

For Hawke’s Bay and New Zealand

A partnership using the Right Tree Right Place model offers farmers the choice to:

  • Maintain and enhance their pastoral farming system
  • Diversify and potentially increase income streams
  • Improve returns from marginal land
  • Support succession planning and debt reduction through higher incomes
  • Build a climate resilient farm with significant environmental benefits

If taken up at scale in the region, Right Tree Right Place will generate significant benefits for the region:

  • Reduce the need for whole farm afforestration, and support rural communities to thrive
  • Improve water quality through a reduction of sediment load and nutrient run off into waterways
  • Improve biodiversity, particularly through planting of native trees
  • Sequester carbon, helping to meet climate commitments

How would it work in practice?

Our catchment staff will work in close partnership with farmers to identify the steep, erosion prone parts of their farm that will suit planting.

Catchment staff will then connect farmers with investment partners, and a plan for tree planting options would be agreed based on the farmers vision for the land.

We will fund planting via debt, and then the planting will create revenue via carbon, timber and/or honey.

The farmer will repay the debt, and the remaining revenue will go to the farmer.

Want more information

Drop us a line if you would like any further information about Right Tree Right Place -

Case studies

Mark Warren talks about his journey from taking on the old run-down family farm in steep hill country in southern Hawke’s Bay to building it up to successful farm operation through planting the right trees in the right places.

Wairoa farmer Dave Read has planted thousands of poplars and willows on his land for erosion control and to provide alternative food for stock in times of drought.

Trees have been grown on Maraetara in Bay View by five generations of Philip Holt’s family. Philip talks about how planting the right trees in the right places has benefited not just the farm business, but created a place of special significance for the family over the generations.

Case studies

Read more about farmers who are putting Right Tree Right Place in to practice.

Dave Read - Integrated landscape Sustainable future

Dave Read


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