Strong focus on sustainability as Ngāi Tahu celebrates continued growth

South Island iwi Ngāi Tahu has reported another solid financial performance with a net profit of $150m for the financial year ended 30 June 2018.

The profit generated by Ngāi Tahu Holdings, the commercial arm of the iwi, resulted in a direct distribution of $61m to the Office of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, which funds initiatives to support positive cultural, social, environmental and economic outcomes for Ngāi Tahu whānau.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Lisa Tumahai said she was delighted by the year-end result, and proud of the work put in across the different iwi business and governance entities throughout the year.

“This financial growth enables Te Rūnanga to build on the foundation of the past 20 years and continue to create initiatives that strengthen and empower our Ngāi Tahu whānau and communities,” said Mrs Tumahai.

“I’m equally impressed by the range of outcomes and milestones achieved across the Office in the past year.”

Whai Rawa, the iwi savings scheme, continues to grow both in membership and in managed funds. In the year ended 30 June 2018 the fund grew to $72.3m, an increase of nearly $10m on the previous year, with a membership of more than 25,000 Ngāi Tahu whānau.

“A particular highlight of 2017/18 was the growing engagement and connection with our whānau,” said Mrs Tumahai.

“With more than 60 per cent of whānau living outside of our takiwā, it is important that we continue to find meaningful ways for them to engage, wherever in the world they choose to live.”

More than 3000 whānau attended road shows held at 14 locations in the North Island and Australia and in November 2017 more than 5000 came together to celebrate whanaungatanga and Ngāi Tahutanga at Hui-ā-Iwi, the biennial cultural festival.

“As we look to the next 50 years we are firmly focused on enhancing the opportunities for our people and on protecting our natural environment. The mark we leave on the landscape is of crucial importance to whānau. The development of a climate change strategy and a Kaiwhakahaere advisory group for freshwater management signal our commitment to these issues and will provide the platform to engage with government and local authorities to ensure our voice is heard,” said Mrs Tumahai.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Group subsidiaries – Ngāi Tahu Seafood, Ngāi Tahu Tourism, Ngāi Tahu Property and Ngāi Tahu Farming – achieved good results for the 2017/18 financial year.

Ngāi Tahu Capital has experienced generally solid returns but was adversely affected by another challenging year for Watson & Son. A change in ownership structure means the honey business is now 100 per cent owned by Ngāi Tahu and the company has since been restructured to position it for future success.

Ngāi Tahu Holdings Board Chair Mark Tume said he is optimistic about the future. “While we are moving from a period of strong growth into a period where we can expect some headwinds, we have a strong balance sheet that sees us entering this next stage of our journey in good shape.

“In line with the expectations of Te Rūnanga we are working hard to demonstrate a real commitment to kaitiakitanga and ensure that Ngāi Tahu values can be seen in action through all our business operations.

“We were founding signatories to the Climate Leaders Coalition established earlier this year, and are currently piloting the Ngāi Tahu Executive Leadership Programme in partnership with Victoria University and the Melbourne Business School to ensure our values and cultural dimensions align with the best of leadership practice,” said Mr Tume.

Mrs Tumahai said that above all, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu is focused on ensuring that the benefits of Te Kerēme continue to be invested wisely for the prosperity of future generations of Ngāi Tahu whānau – mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei.