Kai ngā mauka whakahī o tāukiuki rā anō, kai ngā rau awa o te motu nei, koutou ngā whānau o tēnā kāinga, o tēnā kāinga e whakatinana ana i kā wawata o poua mā, o taua mā, nāia tōhoku reo mihi e rere kau nei, e rere kau nei. Tēnā koutou katoa.
Ngāi Tahu whānau gathered at Pāremata 25 years ago to witness the passage of the Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act. That September day in 1998, we embraced a new reality.
Our Papatipu Rūnanga marked this milestone anniversary with a Settlement Day Commemoration and Climate Change Symposium. Together, we reflected on our progress, the highs and lows, as well as the challenges and opportunities to come as we forge ahead.
The launch of our ambitious and transformative climate action plan, Te Kounga Paparangi, was an exciting start to the financial year. Climate change is a challenge we face together, one that threatens our wāhi tīpuna, taonga and traditions. It is important rangatahi are engaging in conversations about climate mitigation and adaptation as they will inherit tribal leadership in the middle of this century.
Ngāi Tahu Holdings Corporation (NTH) has distributed $75.4 million to the Ngāi Tahu Charitable Trust this financial year, which ensures the continued funding of a variety of grants and programmes that benefit whānau. It brings our total investment in tribal development since Settlement to $930 million.
Amid rising living costs and interest rates, the number of Pūtea Manaaki grant applications has grown. Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu (Te Rūnanga) approved 327 applications this financial year totalling $190,000, up from 253 applications in the previous year. It is our duty to respond to the needs of whānau, which is why we also distributed $424,000 to 424 Ngāi Tahu whānau affected by the Nelson, Westport, Te Tai Rāwhiti and Auckland floods, as well as Cyclone Gabrielle.
Because of our experiences with the Waitaha and Kaikōura earthquakes, we know what it means to rebuild after natural disasters, therefore we established a $1 million fund to help marae, hapū and iwi affected by the cyclone who we share strong links with through the Takitimu waka. E kore e mimiti te puna o mihi ki a koutou, the whānau and Papatipu Rūnanga who generously backed our call, raising an additional $137,000 in donations.
As COVID-19 restrictions eased, our tribal celebrations such as Hui-ā-Iwi and Waitangi Day returned. The Ngāi Tahu Roadshows also recommenced and provided opportunities for more than 1700 whānau across Tauranga Moana, Tāmaki Makaurau and Te Whanganui-a-Tara to reconnect.
As I prepare to retire as Kaiwhakahaere, I have come to reflect on 22 years representing my hapū and iwi through various leadership positions. While there have been many highlights, such as First Nations Futures, Aoraki Bound, and Te Ara Whakatipu, I am most proud of our award-winning investment scheme, Whai Rawa. Tahu Pōtiki and Dr Te Maire Tau both played key roles in its development.
More than 34,000 registered Ngāi Tahu whānau now utilise Whai Rawa, which manages over $140 million in funds. In the last financial year, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu contributed $7.7 million in annual member and newborn distributions, matched savings, net of associated taxes, plus the recent relativity mechanism payment which added $9.65 million to member accounts. Our decision to start Whai Rawa 17 years ago has now resulted in Ngāi Tahu whānau withdrawing more than $30 million to help achieve their goals of tertiary education, a first home purchase, or retirement.
The Ngāi Tahu Archive is another source of immense pride. As Chair of Te Here, I supported investment into this important kaupapa, which had long been an aspiration of our rangatira Tā Tipene O’Regan. In recent years we have launched two publicly accessible digital databases containing our tribal history (Kareao and Kā Huru Manu) and have partnered with Archives New Zealand to develop a facility to protect our taonga.
Likewise, the success of our Ngāi Tahu Fund first conceptualised by the late Tahu Pōtiki is an enduring legacy. I recall Tahu requesting a $1 million investment from Te Rūnanga during a hui at Moeraki Marae, saying: “Give it to us – the people, and we will lead cultural revitalisation.” From that initial investment, ably managed in the early stages by Gabrielle Huria, the Fund has gone on to distribute $14 million to whānau over the past 17 years. This is a fitting tribute to Auntie Jane Davis and Rakiihia Tau Snr who were inaugural board members of the Fund.
In August, I enjoyed joining former NTH Chair Wally Stone as he was inducted as a laureate in the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame. It was Wally who seeded the Marae Development Fund, which empowered each Papatipu Rūnanga to draw down up to $1 million to invest in their marae. I am proud $15 million has since been invested for the development of wharenui and wharekai throughout the regions. This fund is now evolving, and all marae can access an additional $1 million to support the resilience of urupā, whare taonga, and whare karakia.
The relationship between Te Rūnanga and NTH is strengthening. I am optimistic that embedding the long-term NTH strategy in our tribal vision, Mō Kā Uri: Ngāi Tahu 2050, will achieve the alignment we are seeking. The NTH board has embraced the wero Te Rūnanga has laid.
I want to acknowledge our long-serving CEO, Arihia Bennett. Over the past 11 years, she has worked closely with our governance team to bring our strategies and direction to life. Through her leadership, we are making steady progress towards an updated and cohesive tribal vision that will provide the foundation for the next stage in our evolution.
As I step down from the role of Kaiwhakahaere, I am proud that Te Rūnanga has a stronger sense of unity than when I was first elected seven years ago. Bringing stability back to our tribal council is one of my proudest achievements. I will be forever grateful for the guidance of mentors such as Tahu Pōtiki, Donna Matahaere-Atariki, and Jon Stokes.
I acknowledge all representatives and kaimahi who have supported me over the years – you know who you are. I also pay special tribute to Sandy Lockhart and Terry Nicholas, they know why.
In comparison to the time of our settlement, our Papatipu Rūnanga are in a much stronger position and now collectively manage approximately $200 million of assets themselves. This evolution compels us, as Te Rūnanga, to evolve and set our sights on new horizons. I have always been proud of the Papatipu Rūnanga Aspirations Group, which was renamed Au ahi Au ora by Hana O’Regan. Together, Mō Kā Uri, Mō Tātou, and Au ahi Au ora will determine a whānau and Papatipu Rūnanga led vision for Te Rūnanga. With these programmes now well under way, I am confident in my decision to retire as Kaiwhakahaere, and I look forward to witnessing this evolution continue as a proud Ngāi Tahu whānau member.
I offer my utmost thanks to the Papatipu Rūnanga, Ngāi Tahu whānui, Ngāti Waewae, and my whānau for the incredible privilege of serving our people on the tribal council for 22 years. It has been an honour to be your Kaiwhakahaere, and I look forward to watching the next generation pick up the wero from here. It is time for a new vision and rangatira to take us forward to 2050 and beyond.
Mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei.
Stats at a glance
Distribution to TRoNT
Growth in Net Assets
Distribution as a Share of Net Assets
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2022-2023 Annual Report and Summary Group Financial Statements
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Hard copies of the annual report are available by calling 0800 KAI TAHU.
Notification of the Annual General Meetings of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and the Ngāi Tahu Charitable Trust respectively
DATE: 24 November 2023 I TIME: 4.00pm
Arahura Marae, 33 Old Christchurch Road, Arahura, Awatuna, Hokitika 7882