Ngāi Tahu wealth grows to $1.3 billion 20 years on from settlement

Ngāi Tahu is the wealthiest iwi in New Zealand, with a net worth of $1.3 billion. Newly elected Ngāi Tahu CEO Lisa Tumahai says that corporate leadership is a strong point for the iwi but there's a need to develop leadership among the people, on the marae and in the regions.

"Some of the visions within our 2025 document that a lot of our kaumātua participated in who have passed now, in those vision statements it was about a thriving Ngai Tahu community."

In 1997 the South Island iwi was among the first to reach settlement with the Crown, since then they've turned $170mil into $1.3bil.

"I think it's an absolute celebration to be where we are if I think about our papa tupu marae and the investment that has gone into our marae over the last 20 years, the asset base of the rūnanga themselves self is at $60 million," says Tumahai.

The past financial year has been a success with the exception of Ngāi Tahu Capital which posted a net operating deficit of $9mil following a poor mānuka honey season.

Tumahai says that a particular highlight was the iwi's investment in a homeownership pilot that enabled five families to purchase their first homes.

"We've still got a lot more to do, we've still got a strong focus on the well-being of our people, housing issue, education, the demographics are not too dissimilar to the disparities that other iwi have so going forward we will have a stronger focus on the wellbeing of our people." 

Tumahai says her main priority moving forward is developing leadership on marae and in the regions.