The Lake Taupō Forest Trust is counting the cost, with around 6,000ha of radiata at Rangipo wrecked in the powerful winds. It looks after around 80,000ha across the region, with up to 60% of the wood used domestically by the building industry.
“It’s incredibly hard to comprehend – these trees are wiped out,” said 1News’ Sam Kelway, who visited the area to see the scale of the damage. The trust can’t put a figure on the overall destruction and cost at this stage as it’s still assessing the damage.
Most of the damage occurred in the southern half of the forest and mainly in older stands.”This will have significant implications on the Trust’s business for some years to come,” it said in a statement.
Matua Shane owns the only freehold section in the Tongariro National Park and lives very close to the forest. He couldn’t actually hear the trees falling because the wind was so loud.”I’ve lived at the forest for 20 years I’ve never seen it like this,” he said. “I don’t know why but my first thoughts were of Hiroshima and what those people woke up and their city was gone and we woke up and our forest – this has been here for 33 years it’s been growing and in three hours it’s destroyed.”