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Tiong family interests in Aotearoa/New Zealand

The Tiong family have used their profits from the logging of tropical rainforests to fund a broad range of investments in New Zealand, including property developments and forestry businesses.


The Tiongs Neil Construction group has been particularly active in the last few years. In 2003 alone it purchased a number of residential development sites:


  • 7.5 hectares at 64 Fairview Road, Albany, Auckland for $5.8 million. 80 residential sites will be developed for completion by 2005

  • 29 hectares at Cheyne Road, Pyes Pa, Bay of Plenty for $8 million. 280 residential sites will be developed starting in 2004

  • 39 hectares at Flat Bush School Road, East Tamaki, Auckland for $7.3. 95 sites will be developed from 2004

The Tiongs first forestry investment in Aotearoa was the purchase of five forest licenses from the national government in 1990 through their company, Ernslaw One.


The major shareholder in Ernslaw One is Callander Limited with 79% ownership. Callander is a holding company registered in Liberia and is controlled by members of the Tiong family (other shareholdings are held by Habacus Pte Ltd of Singapore and Shiang Yang International Ltd, of Hong Kong).


The managing director of Ernslaw One, Thomas Song Chai Leng (known as Thomas Song) reports to Dr Tiong Ik King.


The five forestry licences gave the company logging rights in three areas, Coromandel, Manawetu and Otago. Since then Ernslaw One has expanded its forest estate from an initial 22,000 hectares to 53,000 hectares through the purchase of further plantations and the conversion of farmland including 2,359 hectares at Lumsden (purchased for $1.75 million) and 569 hectares at Birch Road North Weber (purchased for $0.9 million).


In stark contrast to the performance and management of the Tiongs forest operations in tropical countries, in Aotearoa Ernslaw One has been able to have all its plantation operations accredited under the Forest Stewardship Council scheme.


The company has also diversified its interests through investments in wood processing, timber importing and wholesale, land and property development, scientific products, fish farming and ports.


Other company’s in Aotearoa that the Tiongs control or have interests in include the Oregon Group, Manuka Holdings, the Salmond Smith Biolab group (including Artel Industries, Biolab Scientific, Click Clack International, Selby Scientific, Newman’s Export, Rhone-Poulenc Laboratory Products, and Johns Plastics), New Zealand King Salmon Company, Neil Construction, Ascot Management Corporation, Royal Salmon, Forestart and The Lumberbank.