In 1998 Ngāi Tahu settled historical grievances with the Crown, resulting in a transfer of pūtea (money and assets) from the Crown to Ngāi Tahu. Ngāi Tahu Holdings was set up to grow and protect the pūtea by running successful businesses that generate a return for the iwi. In its comparatively short history, Ngāi Tahu Holdings have delivered some excellent results and grown in four key industries; property, fishing, farming, and tourism. However, the story of Ngāi Tahu tribal investment extends well beyond the twenty-plus years of operation.
Ngāi Tahu Papatipu Rūnanga (sub-tribes) are joining Te Haumi Whakamana, an investment tool that allows rūnanga to take a stake in Ngāi Tahu Property’s Crown Portfolio. This portfolio is made up of commercial buildings leased by Ngāi Tahu Property to Crown and local authority tenants on a long-term basis. The portfolio has generated an annual return of nine per cent, nearly double that of a term deposit at a bank. Through Te Haumi, Ngāi Tahu Property are providing direct benefits to rūnanga which helps them to achieve their own economic aspirations.
Ngāi Tahu Holdings has partnered in the Responsible Investment Fund, started by Pathfinder Asset Management. The fund is designed to exclude investment into controversial industries and reward companies for good business practices. Pathfinder, a boutique fund manager based in Auckland, launched the fund in 2017 with Ngāi Tahu Holdings as the cornerstone investor. The investment sends a signal that Ngāi Tahu believes in wise and responsible investment that will support future generations.
Ngāi Tahu has always understood that the tribe’s history, heritage, and connection to the landscape gives the iwi a competitive advantage in the tourism industry. Ngāi Tahu Tourism is up-skilling their kaimahi (staff) so they are better equipped to share this unique story with manuihiri (guests). They have started to roll out a suite of programmes that focus on teaching kaimahi about the tribe's language, long history, and intimate connection with the land.