In 1998 Ngāi Tahu settled historical grievances with the Crown. In accordance with the Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act, the Crown formally apologised, returned the tribal maunga Aoraki, and provided both cultural and economic redress to the iwi. The Crown transferred assets to Ngāi Tahu including land and cash. Additionally, a range of legislative tools including a Right of First Refusal, a Deferred Settlement Purchase arrangement, and a mechanism for future Relativity Payments, were enacted to help the tribe re-establish its economic base.
Jim Jacobs (Ngāi Tūāhuriri) checks on thousands of native plant seedlings hardening off at Ngāi Tahu Farming’s on-farm nursery at Te Whenua Hou, a large-scale conversion of the former Eyrewell Forest into 20 working farms. The company has set an ambitious target to plant 1.2 million trees by 2030. They hope that this planting project will help re-establish pockets of native forests on the Canterbury Plains, creating a corridor that will bring native manu (birds) back to the takiwā.
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.