Investing in our tribal future

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu is the kaitiaki (steward). It is the engine for driving and achieving our tribal vision. Our vision is holistic: we want to revitalise our culture, lift the well-being of our people, re-embed the tribal footprint in our ancestral landscape, connect our people and build a dynamic tribal economy.

Through our Treaty partnership we strive to contribute to the wider community and national interest. Today Ngāi Tahu has ambitious goals because we are the generation that inherited the ability to realise the visions of our ancestors and create a future of our choosing.

Since Settlement, Te Rūnanga has invested $320m into our tribal vision. Every year, we invest approximately $30m into social, cultural, environmental and political initiatives. Naturally, our visions and ambitions are bigger than our budget, but our investment in tribal development is tied to our commercial growth. Learning from intergenerational investors such as the Harvard Fund, our tribal development budget is 4-5% of our asset base, which has proven to be a sustainable formula ensuring Te Rūnanga is intergenerationally responsible.

Through direct distributions, project development and a talented team of professional staff, Te Rūnanga leads a portfolio of tribal development programmes for the benefit of our Papatipu Rūnanga.

Direct distributions to whānau and Papatipu Rūnanga deliver immediate benefit to the iwi. Our flagship whānau project is Whai Rawa – the Iwi Saver scheme – supporting whānau to save for their education, home ownership and retirement through matched savings. Whānau also receive direct benefits through a series of grant programmes to support cultural revitalisation and educational achievement. Our 18 Papatipu Rūnanga each received a $1 million endowment on Settlement, and annually receive $320,000 to support their operations, which will grow over the next few years to $400,000 per annum.

We bear the risk of developing bold pilot programmes, while ensuring that we are a lean organisation. Projects range from supporting environmental advocacy through to initiatives for rūnanga businesses, te reo (Māori language) programmes and political engagement with the Crown.

Te Rūnanga has been a pioneer in tribal development, innovating many successful direct distribution tools and programmatic models. We are consistently at the forefront of indigenous development, locally and globally. Our purpose is to realise the tribal vision, that vision is a dynamic future for all our people.