Rarakau Rainforest Conservation Project

 Southland, New Zealand.

Southland, New Zealand.

The Forest

Protecting 738ha of Māori owned tall indigenous rainforest, in western Southland, New Zealand. This wet rainforest is adjacent to Fiordland National Park on the very southern coastline of the South Island, and located at the start of the Hump Ridge Track. The forest has a silver beech canopy, intermixed with miro and tōtara.

 Inside Rarakau forest.

Inside Rarakau forest.

Parts of the forest had been logged in the past, and some of the flat terrace land was cleared for farming. The forest is now protected by a conservation covenant. It is supplying New Zealand's first (and so far only) carbon offsets from tall indigenous rainforest.


This project produces 2,734 tCO2 carbon offsets annually, certified to the Plan Vivo standard and the ISO14064-2 standard confirming that the carbon benefits are real, measured, reported, verified, additional and with no double counting. Its carbon offsets were issued by Markit Environmental Registry in London (the world's leading environmental registry).


The People

Owned by the Rowallan Alton (Māori) Incorporation who have given up the right to harvest timber from their forest in exchange for the opportunity to receive donations from supplying rainforest carbon offsets to businesses and individuals. The offsets are priced to contribute to conservation management and community development at this site.

The community landowners logged these forests in the past to help fund community development. In 2007 Ekos invited them to change forest land use from production to protection and to finance conservation and community development through supplying carbon offsets. With funding from the Ministry for Māori Development together they developed this project - the first rainforest carbon project in New Zealand. Note: The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZETS) supports native forest regrowth projects for forests younger than 1990. Tall rainforests were established many thousands of years ago and are not eligible to participate in the NZETS. For this reason Ekos developed this project under the international voluntary carbon market where such projects are eligible.

The Rarakau landowners aspire to sustainable land management excellence, running high quality cattle grazing land along side high quality protected rainforest. Purchasing carbon offsets from this project will supporting this aspiration.

 Ken McAnergney - Rarakau landowner and kaumātua (elder), with his family.

Ken McAnergney - Rarakau landowner and kaumātua (elder), with his family.

We manage our land at Rarakau for our future generations. The goal is to run a sustainable farm, pay our land taxes and be good conservation managers on our land. We need to generate revenue to pay for these things, but we didn’t want to log the forest to get that revenue. This is why we agreed to protect the forest with a carbon credit project. We sell carbon credits instead of wood.

We want our mokopuna (grandchildren) to enjoy the sounds of the Tūī, the Kākā, the Kiwi and maybe even one day the Kākāpō. We also want to lead by example, in responsible sustainable management.
— Ken McAnergney - Rarakau landowner and kau matua (elder)
 Ken McAnergne and Mike Gibbs, Rarakau landowners.

Ken McAnergne and Mike Gibbs, Rarakau landowners.

Our forest carbon project is just great. It enables us to progress our economic development without having to cut our trees down. Our rivers are not being choked up with sediment because we are not logging the forest. The bird life is thriving and we are helping to protect the coastal waters.

The revenue from carbon credits has provided an income stream that can help us train our young people, develop our farm and provide future education and employment opportunities. It is also a show-piece for integrated land management for other indigenous landowners throughout the country.
— Mike Gibbs - Rarakau landowner

Technical Stuff

Download Technical Reports:

 Some of the locals.

Some of the locals.


Follow The Money

 Pricing Transparency.

Pricing Transparency.

We believe that trust is built on transparency. This is why we open our books to buyers and sellers alike. We price the carbon offsets based on the costs of conservation management and community development at this site. The main costs are:

  1. Conservation management costs (e.g. pest and weed control)

  2. Community development support costs (e.g. walking & mountain bike tracks, improved visitor accommodation)

  3. Measurement, reporting and verification costs required for carbon offset certification to an international carbon standard

  4. Sales & Marketing costs needed to monetize carbon offset units.


Project Partners

This project was developed between 2008 and 2013 by Carbon Partnership Ltd and Ekos, with funding fromTe Puni Kōkiri (Ministry for Māori Development) and Carbon Partnership. Key project partners include Rowallan Alton Incorporation (RAI), Venture Partners, Aerial Surveys,  Victoria University of Wellington, Ākina Foundation, and Markit Registry.