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Wisp Hill Station in Owaka Valley. Photo: Shawn McAvinue
Wisp Hill Station in Owaka Valley. Photo: Shawn McAvinue
Ingka Group — one of 12 different groups of companies that own Swedish furniture and homeware giant IKEA — has got the green light to buy a 5500ha sheep and beef station in the Catlins for forestry development.

Following recent approval by the Overseas Investment Office, an area of 330ha at Wisp Hill , in the Owaka Valley, would soon be planted with radiata pine seedlings

The long-term plan was to have a total of 3000ha — more than three million seedlings — planted in the next five years and the remaining 2200ha would ‘‘naturally regenerate into native bush’’, a statement from the company said.

Ingka Group owns about 248,000ha of forestry in the United States, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania. Between September 2019 and August 2020, Ingka Group planted close to seven million seedlings.

Ingka Investments managing director Krister Mattsson said the company was delighted to expand its forestry portfolio into a new country.

Wisp Hill is owned by Southland brothers Leonard and Graham Ward, who have a manager running it. A lease back requirement would allow the Ward family to properly phase out their operations over a minimum three-year period.


And the powers that be have no idea what the long term consequences of their irrational policies will be. The start of these conversions to unnecessary forestry will lead to never ending unemployment, eventually destroying small and larger urban communities like Gore, Mataura and Balclutha.

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