Hancock Natural Resource Group Completes Purchase of 100,000 Acres of New Zealand Forests

BOSTON, June 4, 2004 — Hancock Natural Resource Group (HNRG) today completed the acquisition of forestry rights on some 100,000 acres (40,000 hectares) of forest plantations in the Central North Island region of New Zealand.On April 1 the company announced it had signed a conditional agreement for buying a forestry right over the estate of Kiwi Forests Group Limited, which recently acquired most of the forest estates of Tenon Limited (formerly known as Fletcher Challenge Forests Limited.)

The agreement also covered a forestry right over the estate of one of Tenon’s subsidiary companies, Tarawera Forests Limited, so Tenon was also a party to that portion of the agreement.

“All conditions of the agreement, including New Zealand regulatory approvals, have now been satisfied, and the purchase was formally closed today,” said Dan Christensen, Chief Executive Officer of HNRG and President of its forestry operating arm, Hancock Timber Resource Group (HTRG).HNRG, a wholly owned subsidiary of Manulife Financial Corporation, is the world’s largest manager of institutional timberland investments. It manages 2.8 million acres (1.13 million hectares) of forests in the US South, Northwest and Northeast, as well as in Canada and Australia.

“We are delighted to now add New Zealand to that list, and to now have a presence in the New Zealand forest industry,” said Bruce McKnight, Managing Director, Australasia, and Senior Vice President, who directs HTRG’s investment management business in Australia and New Zealand. “This will be a strong complement to our Australia operations.”

Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 19 countries and territories worldwide. Operating as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia, and primarily through John Hancock in the United States, the Company offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Pro forma funds under management by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were Cdn.$355.9 billion (US$271.6 billion) as at March 31, 2004. Additional information about Manulife may be found at the company’s website:http://www.manulife.com.

Manulife Financial Corporation trades as ‘MFC’ on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and under ‘0945’ on the SEHK.