Iwi becoming a growing financial force - report - Kogonuso

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Feb 8, 2019

Iwi becoming a growing financial force - report

Madison Reidy, Business reporter

Iwi are a growing financial force to be reckoned with, according to a new report showcasing some of their success over the past five years.

The Auckland-based Ngāti Whātua Ō ākei and the South Island's Ngāi Tahu stand out in TDB Advisory's Iwi Investment Sector report, with an average annual return on their assets of 15 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

Tainui, the second largest iwi with $1.4 billion worth of property assets, had an average annual return of 7 percent.

TDB director Phil Barry said their success was due to being well run and having long-term strategies.

"Generally, they've done well because, I think, they've had good governance structures in place," Mr Barry said.

"Over time, they've looked to diversify into a range of low-to-medium risk investments.

"They haven't been driven by short-term financial performance and they've been reinvesting their surplus."

Ngati Whatua is one of Auckland's biggest commercial property owners, and Ngai Tahu has a broad range of investments from property to tourism in the South Island.

In the report, TDB compared the performance of eight of the country's largest iwi between 2013 and 2018, which oversaw a total of $5.5 billion worth of assets.

Each of the iwi, except Northland's Ngāpuhi, have received millions of dollars from the Crown from Treaty settlements dating back to 1995.

Mr Barry said it was a matter for debate whether the iwi were successful because they had a sizeable financial headstart.

The Kiwisaver and state-owned investment agencies such as the ACC and NZ Super Fund would look to iwi for ideas following the report, he said.

However, some iwi included in the report fell well below the average annual return benchmark of 8.5 percent.

Ngāti Porou on the East Cape returned an average of 4 percent on its $243 million worth of financial assets in the five years to 2018, and the Bay of Plenty's Ngāti Awa had the same result with its property investments.

In the 2018 year, Ngāti Whātua and Ngāi Tahu had the highest annual returns.

TDB chose to compare the iwi Ngāi Tahu, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Whātua, Raukawa, Tūhoe and Waikato-Tainui, because of the size of their population and asset worth.

The eight iwi accounted for about 57 percent of the total Māori population in 2013 and manage 61 percent of the total assets owned by all iwi.
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