Tūwharetoa inter-tribal partnership reaps financial gains

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

The Tūwharetoa Settlement Trust has increased the tribe’s equity to $37mil up from $31.2mil last year.  Chair Rakeipoho Taiaroa attributes the financial growth to collaboration with other Ngāti Tūwharetoa entities, trusts and corporations.

Through partnering with other tribal trusts, the Tūwharetoa Settlement Trust has been able to reacquire the 8,300-hectare Hautū-Rangipō prison block.

Taiaroa says, “The forestry part is now leased out to a third party.  The prison obviously is going to be utilised by the prison.  But also what we have in place is, because it's beautiful hunting in there [and] our people hunt and fish, access for our hapū is very important.”

Tūwharetoa Settlement Trust is now the biggest landowner of the Taupō CBD.  They have acquired nine schools and several crown land properties.

In 2009, more than $500mil worth of central North Island forestry assets were returned to eight central North Island iwi, including Ngāti Tūwharetoa.

“We're lucky, because we're not going to go anywhere.  We're getting our land back which is the main thing.  And we're getting our land back with income.”

A focus going forward for the Trust is to return annual grants that were ceased temporarily four years ago, to their marae, elderly men, elderly women, and Paramountcy Office.