Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu has released its annual report for the financial year ending June 2023, showing resilient returns in a difficult economic climate and continued investment in tribal development.
Ngāi Tahu Holdings Corporation distributed a total of $107.4 million to the Ngāi Tahu Charitable Trust, which funds a variety of grants and programmes for whānau. This brings the total investment in tribal development since Settlement to $930 million.
Kaiwhakahaere Lisa Tumahai says it has been a tough year economically, “but we are in a robust position built on a diverse and strong portfolio across multiple sectors”.
She says this annual report marks 25 years since the passing of the Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act.
“This annual report reflects us looking back to move forward. We are asking ourselves what we should keep doing, what we can let go of, and what we can start as we plot the path for the next 25 years. Our tribal visioning initiative Mō Kā Uri: Ngāi Tahu 2050 is forging that path.” We are encouraging all whānau to share their aspirations to build the next plan for the future, says Lisa Tumahai.
She says a major focus of the last financial year has been embracing an integrated approach across Te Rūnanga Group to ensure closer alignment between Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and Ngāi Tahu Holdings. This is reflected in the annual report, signalling a focus on the issues that really matter to Ngāi Tahu whānau and our Papatipu Rūnanga.
“The Integrated Reporting Framework is a method of reporting that sets high standards of transparency and disclosure. It means we can more clearly articulate our business model and how we create value well into the future,” Lisa Tumahai says.
The business earnings for Ngāi Tahu Holdings increased this financial year to $47.7 million from $41.9 million. “A pleasing result considering the economic climate”, Ngāi Tahu Holdings Chair Mike Pohio says.
Mike Pohio attributes the organisation’s resilience to a legacy of sound decision-making and visionary leadership dedicated to intergenerational empowerment.
“Over the past 25 years Ngāi Tahu Holdings has developed a diverse portfolio with interests across property, farming, forestry, seafood, tourism, insurance, investments, and transport.
“Our business units have achieved many successes, and while it is difficult to highlight one over another, we are particularly impressed with the growth Ngāi Tahu Tourism has achieved. It was also pleasing to see Ngāi Tahu Seafood delivering an outstanding result.”
Success is not measured just by the bottom line, however.
“We strive to enhance the lives of our more than 80,000 registered Ngāi Tahu whānau members,” says Lisa Tumahai.
“Our Ngāi Tahu Fund is an enduring legacy of the late Tahu Pōtiki. Since it was formed 17 years ago, the Fund has distributed $14 million to whānau.
“As well as a variety of cultural development grants and scholarships, we approved 327 Pūtea Manaaki applications amounting to $190,000, up from 253 applications in the previous financial year. This reflects the growing challenges whānau are experiencing with increasing living costs.”
Te Rūnanga also responded to severe weather events, with $424,000 distributed to 424 whānau affected by the Whakatū Nelson, Kawatiri Westport, Te Tai Rāwhiti and Tāmaki Makaurau floods, as well as Cyclone Gabrielle.
Lisa Tumahai says the annual report shows Papatipu Rūnanga are in a much stronger position than they were at the time of the settlement.
“They now collectively manage about $200 million of assets. This evolution compels us, as Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, to evolve and set our sights on new horizons,” she says.
Lisa Tumahai is stepping down this month after seven years in the role and 22 years serving her iwi and hapū, Ngāti Waewae.
“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.”
Ngāi Tahu Holdings Chair Mike Pohio says the business units have done an excellent job to navigate the economic challenges of the financial year.
“We know whānau are under pressure from the rising cost of living. The business sector is grappling with it too. The New Zealand economy almost flipped overnight in December as interest rates rose at record pace, inflation surged, and commodity prices fell,” he says.
“Our kaimahi have been resilient and delivered a good result for whānau considering the challenges they’ve had to overcome. We are confident Ngāi Tahu Holdings will maintain its robust position and continue to grow and deliver a dividend for our whānau.”