Greenplan was the inspiration of retired Managing Director, John Barton.
In the late 1980s John, who had been a farmer, farm consultant and registered public valuer for the previous 30 years, was thinking about selling his King Country farm. His daughter, Melanie, and her husband Bruce Maunsell returned to New Zealand from Turkey where they had been living for a couple of years.
Melanie asked her father about planting trees on his farm. She and Bruce had experienced first hand the results of long term deforestation in countries they had visited overseas. They had developed a strong conviction that the world really was going to have trouble supplying itself with wood in the future, and could see that New Zealand was going to be one of the few places in the world with the ability to produce timber efficiently.
However the main barrier to Melanie’s request was the possibility of the family farm being sold, and the trees going with it. So Melanie explained the problem to a lawyer friend, Simon McArley. Simon explained the concept of Forest Rights, which gives forest owners title to their trees, irrespective of who owns the land.
From there one thing led to another. John agreed to Melanie and Bruce planting some trees. Friends of theirs asked if they could plant trees as well. John started realising that there was a need for a forestry investment that suited the needs of small investors.
John, with the support of his wife Deryn, then began researching just what these needs are. A number of common requirements stood out, including; cost certainty, a manager with a strong vested interest, affordability, and the involvement of expert forest and financial professionals who would ensure that the investment was managed properly.
John then spent two years consulting with forestry and financial management experts, and working with Simon McArley on an investment structure that satisfied these requirements. Gradually Greenplan was created.
From John and Deryn’s point of view it was important that the business which developed around this structure was a family business, and that members of their family had the opportunity to be involved.
It also had to be one that respected and enhanced the local community. John had clear views as to what effects Greenplan was going to have on the community. Today Greenplan has its own social policy which sets out the principles within which it operates.
By late 1993 the investment structure had been finalised and the first prospectus was issued.
The timing couldn’t have been better. In 1993 timber prices spiked upwards, and investors were very keen to invest in forestry. Greenplan’s first partnership forests were planted in 1994.
Over the next couple of years John ran Greenplan, mainly on his own, from his home on the family farm. During that time he was joined by his eldest son Matthew, then son-in-law Bruce. His second son, Jo, continued to run the family farm, and also became responsible for grazing on Greenplan properties when that is required.
Since those early days Greenplan has continued to offer investments using the same, carefully thought out, investment structure. Over 63 forest partnerships have been established, involving over 7500 investors.
Today Greenplan operates out of an office in Te Kuiti. John is retired and Matt is the CEO of the company, overseeing the day-to-day operation.
Three staff directly employed by Greenplan are involved in forest management, property management, customer service, marketing, securities register and administration.
Kendon accounting firm provide Accounting Services for Greenplan.