South Island iwi Ngai Tahu almost doubled bottom-line profit from $68.9 million to $121.7 million after a sharemarket surge and farm revaluations.

Chairman Trevor Burt said the iwi owned 6 per cent of Ryman Healthcare "and that's had a stellar run".

The value of its extensive South Island farms was also up.

"Forest land has been converted into dairy land and so we've had value uplifts after that," Burt said.


Ngai Tahu's holding company, which owns its commercial assets, paid $28.2 million to the iwi, up $2 million on last year. That would be used to fund development programmes in health, language, education and a superannuation scheme, Whai Rawa, Burt said. Whai Rawa had a membership of over 18,000, he said.

The iwi has assets of around $1 billion, of which 56 per cent are in property, 20 per cent are in capital, 9 per cent in tourism, 7 per cent in seafood, 6 per cent in fisheries settlement and 2 per cent in other holdings.

But it also has a conservative balance sheet with debt of only $113 million or 12 per cent of assets.

"We have a very strong balance sheet to fund future growth," Burt said yesterday when the annual result was released.

"We're allocating $110 million into the development of further farming operations over the next three years ... We're looking at the Ruataniwha irrigation project in the Hawkes Bay."

Unprecedented demand for housing in Christchurch meant the iwi had sped up development at its Wigram Skies where 237 lots were sold.