Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated stages its annual meeting and 12th Pa Sports today at water park Splash Planet in Hastings with more signs of the growing benefits for members as the iwi continues its growth as a major player in the economy of Hawke's Bay, Wairarapa.
The iwi is launching its Iwi Membership Card, which has benefits on the day with holders able to use the card to get their Splash Planet Superpass at the iwi discounted price of $5 (normally $19.50-$26). Earlier this year the iwi bought 20,000 tickets to national biennial kapa haka festival Te Matatini in Hastings, around which the iwi built its own Kahungunu Festival.
But iwi chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana says that's only the start with further benefits expected to develop within the iwi's strategic plan Kahungunu 2026, a 25-year vision established in 2001.
The plan includes promoting and assisting education of members, custody and preservation of the beliefs, customs and language, social and economic welfare and advancement of employment training and opportunities, community and personal physical, spiritual and mental health and fitness, generally raise living standards of members of the iwi, and promote high quality communications to or for the benefit of members of Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated.
It includes scholarships for members in tertiary education Mr Tomoana hopes, along with other aspects, will "take Kahungunu to the World", and major investments through its assets holding company in the last year included Pania Reef Fisheries Ltd partnership and the purchase from Denmark of deep water trawler the Glomfjord and recently a 40 per cent interest in Animation Research Ltd, the technology and graphics enterprise of iwi member and Dunedin-based entrepreneur Ian Taylor, who grew up in Raupunga in Northern Hawke's Bay and who will be at Splash Planet today.
NKII was established in December 1996, after the failure of the previous Te Runanganui o Ngati Kahungunu, which had been formed in 1988 but which, despite being financially strong, was unable to overcome political challenges within the organisation and was dissolved.
In 2006, the iwi received its share of the fisheries settlement, worth $37 million at the time and now market-valued at $124m.
"We've tripled the value of the asset in not much more than 10 years," Mr Tomoana said. "But we're not cash-rich, so we've been forced to think and innovate. That's a good thing."
The Pa Sports start at 8.30am, and the annual meeting will be held from 11am to noon.