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Image by Meg Jerrard

Leveraging indigenous knowledge to unlock climate smart forest economies

New Zealand

The New Zealand Forest-to-Build Breakthrough Initiative will catalyze a sustainable, equitable, climate-smart and integrated science to inform the forest-to-build value chain in New Zealand (from forest management, timber processing, and the application of timber in the built environment), as well as develop an incubated national platform for advancing the use of sustainably sourced timber products.

This BI seeks to achieve two overarching objectives:

  1. To significantly increase and normalize practices that deliver holistic value (sustainability, carbon sequestration, and equity) from forest-to-build;

  2. To facilitate the development and scaling of an approach to shape New Zealand's forest-to-build ecosystem that harnesses indigenous wisdom of Māori communities as a means to climate-smart value chains and incentivizes sustainable forest management practices


Image by Callum Parker

Indigenous wisdom forest-to-build framework

A Te Ao Māori (Māori worldview), which sees all things in the natural world as interconnected and dependent, will bring inherent value to the development of a systemic and holistic framework.



Developing a strong case to capture more value from NZ forestry


Working with Māori organisations to develop Forest-to-Build projects to advance equitable outcomes

Image by Rod Long

Sustainable forest-to-build framework

The intention is to support the sustainability initiatives of non-Māori actors in the ecosystems, focusing on ‘best practices’ to deliver sustainable, climate-smart, and equity-related outcomes across the forest-to-build value chain, and to provide accessible guidance for industry actors unfamiliar with Te Ao Māori.

Image by Artur Voznenko

Working with Kainga Ora, the national public housing provider, on aligning their program of work with the 3S framework and the NZ Forest-to-Build value chain

Engaging Māori in the co-design of climate-smart and sustainable forestry management and delivery of homes


Kalinga Ora.png


This initiative’s overarching aim will be advanced by demonstrating the viability, benefits and need for an integrated forest-to-build approach by showcasing and building momentum around a number of sustainable timber builds, including builds that advance equity for Māori communities. 

As part of this process, it will seek to influence key decision makers and actors in the ecosystem, and to support and expand the efforts of smaller innovative players who are already employing best practices. The Indigenous wisdom forest-to-build framework will remain the core focus of this project.


Given the unequal input of Māori in shaping NZ’s current socio-economic system, their existing involvement in the forestry sector, interest in sustainable timber processing, and need for affordable and self-determined housing solutions, the project poses a real opportunity for Māori to shape a part of the broader system (i.e. industries in the forest-to-build ecosystem) to work for their people and to advance equitable outcomes.


Interested in learning more about this breakthrough initiative? If you would like to learn more about the work being done in New Zealand please contact us.

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