HFM NZ Ltd. Awarded FSC Forest Certification of New Zealand Forest Plantations

ROTORUA, January 12, 2005 – The Tiaki Plantations Company forests in New Zealand have received certification for environmentally sound and sustainable forest management under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standard, Hancock Forest Management (NZ) Limited (HFMNZ) said today.

HFMNZ, which manages approximately 40,000 hectares of plantations in the Central North Island region of New Zealand on behalf of Tiaki Plantations Company, said the FSC certification required a comprehensive review and means that HFMNZ has met a high standard for responsible social and environmental practices. “We obviously are quite pleased to receive the FSC certification for the Tiaki Plantations Company forests. It is an important milestone for Hancock Natural Resource Group (HNRG) and for our investors,” said Bruce McKnight, HNRG’s Australasian Managing Director. “The FSC standard sets high expectations of excellence and the program’s philosophy of continual improvement is consistent with our own stewardship philosophy.”

Forest certification provides a means by which retailers and consumers can evaluate the origin of forest products and consider the impact of their production on the world’s forests. Certification gives consumers the option of “voting with their dollars,” of choosing wood and wood products that come from sustainably managed forests. FSC certification ensures that timber harvesting is ecologically and silviculturally sound, and socially and economically beneficial to local communities. FSC certification brings foresters, manufacturers, conservationists and consumers together to improve forest management.

The Forest Stewardship Council is an international nonprofit organization founded to support environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world’s forests through independent forest management certification and marketplace labeling of certified forest products. FSC has operations in more than 60 countries and serves as formal accreditor of forest certification programs such as Scientific Certification Systems, ensuring consistent performance. More than 47 million hectares of forestlands have been certified globally according to FSC standards. Information on the FSC can be found at www.fsc.org.

Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), the international independent auditing firm, notified HFMNZ in December 2004 that HFMNZ had demonstrated both commitment and adherence to the FSC Principles and Criteria. The certification also suggests additional enhancements that can be made and provides for annual audits.

HFMNZ is the New Zealand forest management arm of Hancock Natural Resource Group. HNRG is an operating company of MFC Global Investment Management, the asset management arm of Manulife Financial Corporation of Toronto. Additional information about HNRG may be found at www.hnrg.com.