Ngāti Whakaue iwi members are reaping the rewards of investment decisions, with $33,500 worth of grants just announced to support education, sports, community, health and wellbeing initiatives.

In 2009 Ngāti Whakaue Assets Trust was given a $9.2 million Kaingaroa Forest settlement fund to invest for the collective benefit of Ngāti Whakaue.

The trust has now grown that asset base to $20.13 million, allowing it to distribute $500,000 to tribal beneficiaries in the coming financial year.

The first of those grants includes sponsoring a major waka ama event in Rotorua this Saturday.


The Hei Matau Paddlers will host more than 35 teams from across the North Island at the Rotorua Lakefront, and they will then race around Mokoia Island.

Hei Matau Paddlers committee member Mel Rika said the $3000 trust grant would help pay for support boats and their fuel, an ambulance on site, and the traffic management plan.

"It's quite a big undertaking. We ran a similar event on a smaller scale last year and it did cost quite a bit. So to receive this funding is absolutely fantastic," Rika said.

"The vast majority of our paddlers are Ngāti Whakaue. We're helping to encourage Māori hauora and our 120 members range in age from six through to 74 years-old. We definitely appreciate the support we've had from our trust. It makes running this event doable."

Another recipient, Tatiana Macfarlane from Tiaho Healing, will use her $3000 grant to fund a two-day wānanga workshop teaching the benefits of traditional mirimiri massage.

"Mirimiri is a dying art. It's not just a massage, it's a holistic approach and a worthwhile kaupapa that can benefit the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical wellbeing of your whānau, hapū, and iwi. The purpose of this wānanga is to share this cultural knowledge so it is not lost.

"I'm really excited to help others discover these tools and potentially encourage them into a career as a mirimiri practitioner."

Macfarlane said the trust's grant should allow about 15 Ngāti Whakaue members to attend the next wānanga workshop free of charge.


Trust chairperson Katie Paul acknowledged that she and her fellow board members had exceeded their own financial goals in making a wide range of commercial investments over the past decade.

Paul said this was thanks to work done "by a great team" who assessed investment opportunities to choose the right ones for Ngāti Whakaue's beneficiaries.

"It's wonderful to be able to distribute those profits back to our people and support community groups, events and initiatives that make a tangible difference to our lives.

"We are helping to build a prosperous future for our tribe. Our marae, tikanga, and te reo are thriving and our focus remains on growing and protecting our success for future generations."

Other trust grant recipients announced this week include Rotorua Primary School's Parent Committee (to purchase IT equipment for interactive student learning), Maketū Educare (to purchase GoPros and equipment to document tamariki learning).

Each group has received a grant of $3000.