09 February 2023

Forestlands’ director, Rowan Kearns, pleads guilty to making false statements and charges related to financial reporting

Media Release
MR No. 2023 – 6

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) – Te Mana Tātai Hokohoko – today confirmed that Rowan Kearns, the founder and sole director of the Forestlands group of companies, last week pled guilty to the following charges in criminal proceedings for disclosure and financial record keeping breaches: 

  • One representative charge of making a false statement, under the Financial Reporting Act 1993, s 41, carrying a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment or $200,000 fine;
  • two representative charges of failing to deliver financial statements under the Financial Reporting Act 1993, ss 18 and 38(b), carrying a maximum penalty of $100,000 fine; and,
  • one representative charge of failing to lodge financial statements under the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013, s 461H, carrying a maximum penalty of $50,000 fine.

The FMA filed charges in the Nelson District Court in September 2020. Mr Kearns entered not guilty pleas to all charges, and elected a trial by jury. The charges were then consolidated into representative charges, capturing the fundamental aspects of Mr Kearns’ offending.

A jury trial had been set down for March 2023, however, Mr Kearns guilty pleas now mean the case can proceed to sentencing, without need for a trial. Mr Kearns will be sentenced at the Nelson District Court on 2 May 2023 at 2.15pm.

The FMA will comment further at the sentencing decision.


Updated 2 May 2023: New sentencing date for Mr Kearns confirmed – 20 July 2023 at 2.15pm (Nelson District Court)

Updated 27 April 2023: The sentencing of Mr Kearns has been adjourned and a new date has not yet been set.

Media contact:

Andrew Park
FMA Media Relations Manager
[email protected]
021 220 6770