Waikato-Tainui’s fortunes are steadily increasing as a series of investments diversifies its interests.

Waikato-Tainui's fortunes are steadily increasing, its asset base rising by $123.6 million in the past year to reach $1.2 billion.

The Hamilton-headquartered tribe's annual report, issued by Waikato Raupatu Lands Trust for the March 31, 2015, year and including the result of subsidiary Tainui Group Holdings, was out this week and showed wealth rising from a $1 billion asset base to $1.2 billion.

Financial distributions were also up from last year's $6.1 million to $22.3 million in the latest year.

Leon Wijohn, a Deloitte private partner and the firm's national Maori business sector leader, said it was now 20 years since Waikato-Tainui's treaty settlement with the Crown and this latest period was Tainui ex-chief executive Mike Pohio's final year.


"It is exciting to see where Tainui is today," Wijohn said.

"The first few years after settlement were rocky but now Tainui is an impressive organisation based on revenue, asset base and what it is able to deliver in the areas of social, cultural and environmental outcomes," he said.

"They invested in Genesis, Waikato Milking Systems and Go Bus during the year. Although Tainui will always have a property focus, moving into business investments is intended to diversify their investment portfolio more over time with the hope of increasing jobs and cash flow," Wijohn said.

Genesis Energy. Photo / Doug Sherring
Genesis Energy. Photo / Doug Sherring

"At a consolidated level, key metrics around revenue, profit and assets are up on last year."

Realised gains on property were down from last year but Wijohn hoped the tribe's foray into new businesses might turn those aspects around.

"Diversification into businesses will improve results over time but in my opinion, people need to keep in mind that the change in strategy is better judged in five to 10 years' time rather than in just one to three years," Wijohn said.

Maori businesses were forming an increasingly significant and growing part of the economy, he said, and as a reflection of that, for the first time last year the Deloitte Top 200 included a new separate list of the nine top Maori business entities based on total asset value.

Waikato Milking Systems. Photo / Doug Sherring
Waikato Milking Systems. Photo / Doug Sherring

Maxine Moana-Tuwhangai, chairwoman of Waikato-Tainui's governing entity Te Kauhanganui, said gains had been made across a wide range of developments, including education and commercial activities and that enabled more distributions to be made.


Notable initiatives included the introduction of a collective marae insurance scheme, launch of River Rush which is a digital application to engage and educate tamariki in river conservation, launch of a dedicated careers website, $2.8 million invested in education, and the acquisition of Genesis Energy, Go Bus and Waikato Milking Systems shares.

Waikato-Tainui total revenue rose from $69.8 million to $82.6 million and net profit rose from $70.9 million to $83.3 million.

The annual report noted this year is the 20th anniversary of the Raupatu settlement with the Crown.

Sir Henry van der Heyden, Tainui Group Holdings chairman, described the performance of the tribe's commercial entity as solid.

"The new shareholdings in Waikato Milking Systems, Go Bus and Genesis Energy have been a highlight of the past year with all three providing strong returns from day one.

"They are a good start but we have a long way to go to achieve the balanced portfolio of investments that we're seeking from our diversification strategy," van der Heyden said.

He and acting chief executive Chris Joblin referred in the annual report to the wealth of the tribe's 67,000 members, saying the business was spreading its wings with a broader spread of active investments.