Ngati Whakaue Assets Trust has doubled its asset base to $18.3m in less than a decade and has revealed plans to distribute more than $460,000 to its beneficiaries in the next year.
The trust's strong financial performance was outlined at its annual general meeting held at Te Papaiouru Marae in Ohinemutu on Sunday.
Trust chairwoman Katie Paul signalled a future focus on housing issues in addition to ongoing financial support for local marae and cultural activities.
In 2009 the trust was given a $9.2m Kaingaroa Forest settlement fund to invest for the collective benefit of Ngati Whakaue. Thanks to "astute and strategic investment plays", Ms Paul confirmed the asset base had since doubled and was on track to surpass $20m by 2020.
Ms Paul said each year the trust was presented with an enormous array of investment proposals.
"To help guide our decision-making, the trust relies on access to quality advisers, strong networks and sound experience. The rest is a combination of courage, confidence and ambition to capture the best opportunities.
"Our investment in Kakano Investment Ltd Partnership has provided a fantastic opportunity to commercially collaborate with five central North Island iwi. Kakano owns a 2.5 per cent stake in New Zealand's largest forestry business, Kaingaroa Timberlands.
"Our investment is now worth $9.48m today and continues to deliver strong monthly distributions," she said.
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Other key investments included two property syndicates operating in Auckland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty, managed portfolio funds with Craigs Investments and NZ First Capital, and Australian mining stocks.
"I'm confident our trust remains on track and on target. We're committed to delivering a prosperous future for our iwi," Ms Paul said.
"Our marae, tikanga and te reo are thriving and our focus now is to grow and protect our success for future generations."
Last year the trust distributed over $225,500 in grants to marae, community, sports and cultural groups. It committed to giving beneficiaries $460,000 over the next year, bringing the total distributions from the trust to $2.2m since its inception in 2009.
Ms Paul said she was immensely proud the trust was able to annually support Ngati Whakaue marae committees with the hard work of upgrading buildings and covering maintenance costs.
"Our aim now is to support marae to become sustainable and smart through insulation, LED lighting, solar hot water heating, and web and WiFi enabled access."
Other community groups to have benefited from trust grants last year included the Waikite Rugby & Sports Club senior prizegiving and squash open days, Waikite junior rugby Whakatau night and prizegiving, Te Taumata o Ngati Whakaue Iho Ake Te Whareaonui event showcasing the interaction of Maori and science knowledge systems in weaving, Te Papa Takaro o Te Arawa Sports & Achievement Awards 2017, Te Pakarito-Nga Taonga Takaro o Onamata wananga and Te Komiro o Te Utuhina river restoration wananga.
Ms Paul said the highlight of the year was the Whakaue Whakanuia celebration where more than 1000 people came together in September 2016 to celebrate Ngati Whakaue's family history and achievements, culminating in a special kapahaka event and marae awards dinner.
"We believe one of the most critical factors to our success moving forward is unity and kotahitanga not only across our marae but with our Ngati Whakaue entities working together for the benefit of the people."
Ms Paul told yesterday's meeting a survey held earlier this year had confirmed the trust's distribution policy was essentially "about right" with strong support for marae grants, cultural activities and the Whakaue Whakanuia event to continue.
"However, our people also expressed a strong desire to see greater provision for addressing housing and health needs, poverty and jobs. The trust will endeavour to reflect these needs in its ongoing investment and distribution decisions."
Audited financial statements show the trust made a net surplus before grants and donations of $847,214.
According to the New Zealand Census data just over 8300 people or 1.2 per cent of the population affiliate to Ngati Whakaue.