Tūwharetoa Settlement Trust’s investments and partnerships performed well throughout the 2017/18 financial year, with the establishment of the Te Pūia Tāpapa Fund, the formation of the Tūwharetoa Gondola Limited Partnership and sale of forestry rights for the Taurewa, Waituhi and Pureora South Forests placing the Trust in a strong position.

Establishment of the Te Pūia Tāpapa Fund

Ten Ngāti Tūwharetoa commercial entities formed Tūwharetoa Hau Rau (100 Winds), a Limited Partnership, specifically to join a group of 25 other Iwi and Māori organisations to establish Te Pūia Tāpapa Fund.

The Te Pūia Tāpapa Fund aims to pool its financial resources to increase Māori investment in a broad scale of assets, alongside large investors such as the NZ Super Fund and the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC).

The 10 partners in Tūwharetoa Hau Rau have committed a combined total of $20 millon to Te Pūia Tāpapa Fund and will be represented on the board of Te Pūia Tāpapa Fund by Debbie Birch (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Apa, Ngāti Hauiti, Ngāti Rangi).

Te Pūia Tāpapa Fund has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the NZ Super Fund. Under the MOU, Te Pūia Tāpapa Fund and the NZ Super Fund will be preferred partners, committing to full and open dialogue over investment opportunities. The Fund will help the Māori groups further diversify their portfolios and access larger scale direct investment opportunities than they could achieve on an individual basis. Iwi and Māori groups will have an increasing economic base, with potential to grow land, capability and capital.

$25 million gondola project

Ruapehu Alpine Lifts (RAL) has launched a project to build a $25 million gondola to replace the chairlift between the Top of the Bruce and Knoll Ridge café. As part of its funding, RAL issued a bond offer with a guaranteed minimum return and a share in the upside of any increase in passenger numbers. To participate in the bond offer, six Ngāti Tūwharetoa commercial entities have formed Tūwharetoa Gondola Limited Partnership, with a total commitment of $7.5 million.

The new gondola was officially opened in July 2019.

Sale of forestry rights green light further investment opportunities

Following approval from the southern Forest Hapū Cluster Trusts, the sale of forestry rights for Taurewa, Waituhi and Pureora South Forests to Lake Taupō Forest Management Limited (LTFM) was completed in June 2018.

This means that LTFM, the largest forest owner and operator in the Ngāti Tūwharetoa rohe, now owns the trees on these blocks and is responsible for all operations including new planting and harvesting. This transaction has enabled Tūwharetoa Settlement Trust to reduce our heavy exposure to the forestry sector, and to provide funding for other investment opportunities.

To learn more about the Trust’s 2017/18 financial year highlights, please view the Annual Report.