The Forest with Many Names: Turret/Hunua/Paparimu

The eskimos had 52 names for snow because it was important to them.

- Margaret Atwood

The New Zealand Forests Trust prospectus said this forest, located in the Hunua Range near Auckland, consisted of 397.6 ha, of which 368 ha were covered in 10 - 20 year old pines.  The value given was trees: $4,252,500, land: $950,000.  It was sold by Flat Rock Forests Trust to NZFT for a “package” deal of $9.4 million.  The individual figures weren’t given in FRFT’s 31 March 96 annual return, but elsewhere we were told that Medlicott was sold for $2.2 million (in my opinion an inflated price).  By then, FRFT owned only 58.2% of Medlicott (by virtue of the fact that it was a unitholder in NZFT) and that portion was valued at $931,000.  That would put the total value of Medlicott at $1.6 million (which was still high).

Bideford was purchased for $2,672,500.  Of course, the $133,625 procurement fee (at the least) would have been added to the purchase price quoted to unitholders.  (The purchase price for Bideford was never directly reported to unitholders that I could find.)  The NZFT prospectus said it was “sold” to them (however all but $.6 million was on credit, of course) for $3.357 million.  $9.4 million minus $3.357 million minus $2.2 million left $3.843 million as the selling price for Turret — quite a low price considering the trees and land were worth $5,200,500!  Guy Stevenson & Petherbridge said the land was in two certificates of title totalling 394.6238 ha of which 379.6ha were plantable.

The PriceWaterhouse summary report did not even mention this forest, though the full PW review at least addressed it.  They said the March 96 value was $3.8 million.  That was what NZFT had paid FRFT for it and that was what NZFT was paid for it when they sold it to someone else.  NZFT gave the money they received to FRFT in cash, of which $1.9 million went to Countrywide and $.4 million “produced overdraft.”  Presumably that should have been “reduced overdraft,” but that isn’t definite.  $1.5 million in FRFT units were also redeemed which had been issued to the vendor when the forest was bought.

In a 19 November 97 letter to our lawyer, Perpetual Trust’s John Mallon said the land was 393 ha, and there were 368 ha of trees, 330 ha of which was planted prior to 1984.  He said the purchase price was $3,780,000.  He said he was “not aware of any relationship with the Manager…”  He said this forest was sold by NZFT for $3.8 million.  The proceeds, he said, were paid to FRFT to retire $1.5 million in debt and to redeem $2.2 million in units.  (This distribution does not match PW’s and only totals $3.7 million, anyway.)  He said FRFT paid $2.3 million to Countrywide.

What does the public record reveal?

On 11 August 95, Waimea Holdings, acting for FRFT, executed a mortgage on advances for titles 67C/67 and 30A/1413.  Written in by hand (perhaps at a later date?) is CT 22D/1022.

I checked title 30A/1413.  (Title 22D/1022 may have been of more interest — since Petherbridge had said there were only two titles involved, yet this was a third.)  The land in this title (30A/1413) was 121.0708 ha.  It had two mortgages to Countrywide entered 7 September 95.  One of these matched the mortgage secured by advances on a forestry right in gross found in the Waimea Holdings file.  This mortgage was discharged on 23 December 96 — 21 January 97 on Terranet — and is also in the Waimea file.  However, the date of the discharge is overwritten by hand (by Countrywide attorney Robert Wade Sharp) to be 23 January 97.  The company number was hand-changed from that of a company called Waytemore Forests Limited to that of Waimea.  (As Waytemore Forests Limited was registered in Auckland, I was unable to view the hard copy file.  An online keyword search of Companies Office files showed Don Simcock as a director.)

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