Pan Pac Forest Products Ltd

Coordinates: 39°22′41″S 176°53′24″E / 39.378°S 176.890°E / -39.378; 176.890

Pan Pac Forest Products Ltd is a forest products company based at Whirinaki, near Napier, New Zealand. The company includes forestry operations, manufacturing and sales of wood pulp and lumber products, employing approximately 360 staff.[1] Originally majority-owned by a New Zealand company and producing mechanical pulp, it is now wholly owned by a Japanese company and producing thermo-mechanical pulp.

Pan Pac Forest Products
IndustryForestry, timber products
HeadquartersWhirinaki, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
Key people
Tony Clifford, managing director
OwnerOji Holdings


Pan Pac was established by Carter Consolidated Ltd, a family business which was founded in 1896, a predecessor to Carter Holt Harvey. By 1967, the Auckland-based timber company was researching ways to utilise timber waste from its forestry and sawmill operations. They learnt of a strong demand in Japan for mechanical pulp and began to investigate producing it for export to Japan. It became clear that to be economic, a pulp mill would require more wood than the company could provide from waste. This meant that cutting rights to a forest were needed, and a sawmill would be required to process the millable timber.

When 320 million cubic feet of timber from the government-owned Kaingaroa Forest was offered for sale in 1969, Carter Consolidated bid for the lot. They won cutting rights to 220 million, the remaining 100 million going to Tasman Pulp and Paper.

A joint venture agreement was signed between Carter Consolidated Ltd, Oji Paper Company and Kokusaku Pulp on 3 May 1971, forming Carter Oji Kokusaku Pan Pacific Ltd.

Pan Pac was established as an international joint venture between Carter Consolidated (holding 60%) and the two Japanese partners (holding 40%). In 1991 Carter Holt Harvey sold their share in Panpac down to 10% to raise capital for cutting rights to Hawke's Bay forests. In March 1993, Carter Holt Harvey sold the last of their investment and Pan Pac became wholly Japanese owned, with 87% held by Oji Paper Company and 13% by Nippon Paper Industries Company Ltd.[2] In 2007, Pan Pac became 100% Oji owned.[3]


The mill was located in Hawke's Bay because Napier was the closest port to the Kaingaroa Forest, and more specifically Whirinaki was selected as it had a major water supply, the Esk River, and it was conveniently located for both raw materials and product. The mill was built in 18 months for a cost of $12 million and was completed in March 1973. It was officially opened by Prime Minister Norman Kirk in June that year. The pulp mill had a capacity of 400 air dried tonnes (ADT) per day.[2]

Stage 2 development was undertaken 1974–1976 at a further cost of $12 million. It included a chip screening system, a new chipper and conveying, four refiners, dewatering machines, another flash drier and slab press, two bale presses and a wrapping system. This lifted production to 600–700 ADT per day.

In the early 1980s, market forces necessitated a change in product, and between 1981–1982 the mill was converted from mechanical pulp to thermo-mechanical pulp for a budget of $30 million. Five refiners were added, three chip pre-heaters and two chip washes. The initial refiners were converted to 'secondaries'.

A 36MWth boiler was installed in 2002[4] and a new chipmill was built in 2009.

Today the pulpmill and sawmill are supported on-site by a chipmill, two boilers and a cogeneration plant.


Pan Pac produces 220,000 tonnes of pulp annually, which is exported to Japan.[3] Approximately 200,000 m3 of timber is produced annually.[5]

Cyclone GabrielleEdit

On 14 February 2023, at around 4:30 - 5 am, the Pan Pac site was hit by Cyclone Gabrielle as water rushed from the Esk Valley and into Whirinaki. Managing Director Tony Clifford, said that the site would have many, many months of recovery.[6]


  1. ^ "PANPAC". Pan Pac Forest Products. Retrieved 15 July 2016.
  2. ^ a b Wright, Matthew (1999). Working together - The history of Carter Oji Kokusaku Pan Pacific Ltd 1971-1993. ISBN 0-473-05378-0.
  3. ^ a b Company Profile Archived 2011-07-24 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 2010-2-23
  4. ^ Bioenergy reference project 5 Archived 2011-07-20 at the Wayback Machine EECA
  5. ^ ForestFlyer 2009
  6. ^ Sharpe, Marty (7 March 2023). "'Many, many months' of recovery ahead for one of Hawke's Bay's largest employers". Retrieved 11 March 2023.

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