Little tempts Ngāpuhi with $150m investment fund

By Rukuwai Tipene-Allen

An investment fund is being established for the benefit of ngā hapū o Ngāpuhi as the Crown tries to get the iwi and hapū closer to a Treaty settlement.

Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Andrew Little said today the fund was a significant step in the Crown’s efforts to restore its relationship with the iwi and its commitment to help ngā hapū meet their economic aspirations for the future.

“The ability to engage in meaningful negotiations for commercial redress is an important part of restoring the Crown’s relationship with ngā hapū o Ngāpuhi,” Little said.  

“This important work will sit alongside our continued work on restoring all aspects of our relationships with ngā hapū o Ngāpuhi, including mandate issues and having in-depth discussions around issues such as He Whakaputanga me te Tiriti.”

The Ngāpuhi Investment Fund, with initial capital of $150 million, is a new Crown company that will acquire and build a portfolio of assets that can be offered by the Crown in negotiations with ngā hapū o Ngāpuhi.

“We have established the fund so the Crown has more options to put on the table for ngā hapū o Ngāpuhi in future negotiations.”

It would help ensure ngā hapū do not miss out on opportunities for investment while negotiations continued.

Ngāpuhi treaty talks stopped six years ago after the Waitangi Tribunal found the Tuhoronuku mandate recognised by the Crown wasn’t representative of all hapū.

Little has since agreed Tuhoronuku didn’t have the mandate and has been trying to  involve all hapū

‘Prosperity in perpetuity’

Sir Brian Roche has been appointed as the establishment chair of the Ngāpuhi Investment Fund. Ripeka Evans (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Porou, Te Aupōuri, Ngāti Kahu) is deputy chair, with Lindsay Faithfull (Ngāpuhi), Sarah Petersen and Geoff Taylor as the other directors.
“This is a very significant development. The scale of the fund will allow it to build a base of assets throughout the rohe and beyond that may not otherwise be available for the Crown to offer, and provides a boost in investment for Te Tai Tokerau,” Little said.

The fund can invest in a wide variety of New Zealand assets, including land-based businesses, as well as standard financial assets to help the fund grow.

Investment decisions will be made by the fund itself, according to its kaupapa and investment strategy, which will be developed by the independent board. The Fund will operate as “Tupu Tonu” - translating as “prosperity in perpetuity.” 

Grants to hapū

A part of its annual revenue will be used for grants to ngā hapū me ngā uri o Ngāpuhi for social development and building governance capability.

“The fund sends a clear signal of our intention to seek to meet the aspirations of ngā hapū o Ngāpuhi for redress for their people and their rohe, when they are ready,” Little said.

More information can be found at www.tuputonu.co.nz 

Ngāpuhi Investment Fund Ld is a Crown company under Schedule 4A of the Public Finance Act. It will acquire a portfolio of assets for the Crown to offer in negotiations with ngā hapū o Ngāpuhi, and will also seek to increase the financial value of the Fund. The fund is expected to make both direct investments, including in land-based businesses, and indirect investments (for example, shares and investments).

Board members:

  • Sir Brian Roche is Chief Crown Negotiator for Ngāpuhi and chair of the New Zealand Transport Agency. He has been appointed as chair for six months to establish the fund. In August 2020, he co-led a new group to support the Ministry of Health in improving Covid-19 border security. He has worked on a number of other negotiations for the Crown (Ngāti Awa, Taranaki Whānui Wellington, Waikato River), and was the chief executive of New Zealand Post between 2010 and 2017. Sir Brian was the project manager for the successful bid to secure the hosting rights to Rugby World Cup 2011.
  • Ripeka Evans (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Porou, Te Aupōuri, Ngāti Kahu), deputy chair, is a Māori development consultant, and chair of NorthTec. She is also deputy chair of Toi Ohomai, and a member of the Reserve Bank’s Te Ao Māori strategy committee, and has previously been a director of Te Aupōuri Fisheries and trustee of Te Rūnanganui o Te Aupōuri. She holds an MBA from Massey University. Evans has led transformational change for Māori and women, as a consultant, chief executive and director across Crown, iwi and hapū social, cultural and economic development businesses.
  • Lindsay Faithfull (Ngāpuhi) is the managing director of McKay Ltd, a Northland, 500-employee strong company owned by his family. He holds a BE (Hons) from the University of Canterbury, is a chartered engineer in the UK and New Zealand, and is a member of the Institute of Directors. Lindsay also has a proven record of commercial leadership recognised in his position as a member of the Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan governance team. Raised in Whangārei and of Ngāpuhi, English, and Scottish descent, he has a deep connection to Te Tai Tokerau and its communities, and a strong understanding of the region’s economic context.
  • Sarah Petersen is an experienced director, and a chartered accountant with over 20 years of commercial finance experience in not-for-profit, commercial and local government sectors. She is experienced in assessing investment, infrastructure and economic development opportunities and managing risk, having chaired audit and risk committees for boards on which she has served. She was raised and educated in Tai Tokerau, and is chair of Northland Inc, Northland’s economic development agency. She is also a director of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, serves on other regional boards and is a member of the Institute of the Directors.    
  • Geoff Taylor is a professional director with extensive governance experience, and a significant background in financial, investment and fund management. He has managed a private equity fund in the agriculture sector and has been a director of a number of investment funds. He is a former group treasurer of the New Zealand Dairy Board/Fonterra.