Ngai Tahu Holdings, the commercial arm of the dominant South Island iwi, boosted annual profit 20 per cent, with earnings swelled by $33.3 million of earthquake insurance proceeds and a $14.8 million gain on asset sales, which included a sell down of Ryman Healthcare shares.

Net profit rose to $145.9 million in the 12 months ended June 30 from $121.8 million a year earlier, the company said in its annual report. Before tribal activities, such as distributions to the iwi, Ngai Tahu's trading surplus more than doubled to $161.4 million, with underlying earnings rising 48 per cent to $88.3 million. Revenue gained 38 per cent to $319.8 million.

"This outstanding result reflects a combination of contributing factors," chairman Trevor Burt and chief executive Mike Sang said in their report. "In particular, exceptionally strong residential property sales at Wigram Skies and Prestons, increasing returns from our dairy operations and conversions, a record seafood result, improved earnings in tourism and strong growth in our investments, including Ryman."

Ngai Tahu has been diversifying its investment portfolio over the past year, including joint investments with Waikato's Tainui Group Holdings in dairy technology manufacturer Waikato Milking Systems and national passenger transport firm Go Bus.


The iwi unit's property business boosted earnings before interest and tax by 66 per cent to $63.4 million in the year, its third record result, with strong sales in its Christchurch residential developments, and its Eyrewell farming development coming on stream and delivering results above budget.

The tourism unit lifted operating earnings 74 per cent to $6.1 million with strong growth in Asian visitors and a pick-up in its traditional markets.

The seafood group reported earnings of $19.3 million, with strong Chinese demand for crayfish and the successful expansion of its mussel farm.

Ngai Tahu generated operational cash flow of $47.9 million in the 12 month-period, down from $75.6 million in 2013 when its coffers were swelled by a $68.5 million Treaty of Waitangi settlement top-up, and the company had cash and equivalents of $25.8 million as at June 30.

The commercial unit made a distribution of $31.4 million for the 2014 year to Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, up from $28.3 million a year earlier.