From despair to joy and optimism for Ngāi Tahu

By Tumamao Harawira

The investment arm of Ngāi Tahu, Ngāi Tahu Holdings, has achieved a record profit, following two lean years that included last year’s disappointing $25.6m loss but this year's bounce-back has been sweet.

"We're thrilled to announce the best result since settlement actually," Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Lisa Tumahai says. "They are record results."

In 2020, Covid-19 hit the business hard. Ngāi Tahu Holdings chair Mark Tume says there was a lot of cost-cutting.

"Some really deep cost-cutting, losing a lot of staff as well, which was unfortunate. But look, if you have no customers, you have no business."

Ngāi Tahu Holdings' biggest businesses are Ngāi Tahu Capital, Ngāi Tahu Property, and Ngāi Tahu Farming. Mark says it was hard work to get to where they sit today.

Hard mahi by kaimahi

"The day in and day out, wonderful hard work was put in, sleeves rolled up, keeping heads above water and going about our work in a professional manner."

In 1998, Ngāi Tahu settled its Treaty settlement for $178m and now has assets worth $1.5b.

Tumahai says this financial result would be of significant value to Ngāi Tahu whānau over the coming years and it was important to maintain an intergenerational focus.

"We've changed strategic direction in terms of our focus on our region and our investments in our regions, so we have got a new programme, a couple of years old called Haea Te Awa."

Tumahai says the exceptional result for the commercial arm of the iwi shows the importance of strength and agility in leadership during trying times, which is mirrored by the hard work and dedication by all kaimahi over the past year. She also says all the hard work is so that the iwi can reinvest back into its people.

"We can continue investing in those tribal initiatives, well-being initiatives, cultural initiatives, cultural revitalisation."