Ngai Tai posts $10m profit

Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki’s first planting day at Motutapu, part of the tribe’s 1 Billion Trees project. Photo supplied.

Local iwi Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki has recorded a consolidated profit of $10.09 million to March 31, 2021, up from $345,000 for the corresponding period the previous year, according to its latest annual report.

The report reveals growing property and infrastructure development, marine and aquaculture consents, the commencement of a One Billion Trees (Te Uru Rākau) project and the impact of Covid-19 on the iwi and its operations.

Ngāi Tai, whose main marae is Umupuia at Maraetai, shows consolidated net assets have experienced significant uplift to $29.75m to March 31, 2021 compared to $19.66m for the previous corresponding period. It attributes this to the one-off investment in Macleans College land and revaluation gains.

The sale of Macleans College’s 12ha school site (land only) took place on March 30, 2021, in accordance with the Ngāi Tai ki Tamaki deed of settlement dated November 7, 2015, as reported in the Times in April.

However there is a deficit forecast for 2022 of $187,000 attributable to ongoing investments in operations.

The Macleans College land purchase, in partnership with Hāpai, is cited as a key highlight for its management team in the 2021 reporting period and in line with its strategy focussing on investment opportunities to provide growth and income.

Hāpai is a property co-investment for various iwi and particularly Ngāti Raukawa, Hauraki iwi and various Taranaki-associated iwi.

Ngāi Tai’s total land footprint – either controlled or owned – is now 181.5ha, up from 168.5ha in 2020.

Chairman James Brown says in the report its asset value reflects real progress in the commercial investment category of the Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki Trust.

“Property continues to remain the Trust and CIT’s (Commercial Investment Trust) largest contributor excluding settlement sites and cash,” says Brown.

“The Pukekohe Kiwibuild project is almost complete (forecast for completion this year) and we now have Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki whanau purchasing and moving into homes in Pukekohe.

“The Hospital Road (Middlemore) development is now about to start civil works and is programmed to be complete by the end of 2022.”

The Middlemore property development is one of the largest brownfield urban developments in Auckland, the reports says, and will result in civil works in partnership with Latham Construction and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

The iwi and Latham Construction completed the $65m Kāinga Ora development of 120 units at Waterview in November 2020 and is working on a KiwiBuild project of 93 homes in Pukekohe and is poised to commence a half billion dollar development involving 350 homes and mixed-use facilities nestled between Middlemore Hospital and Kings College.

The Crown has invested $53m in Hospital Road, $29m in Pukekohe and $23m for Waterview.

“Whenua (land) responsibilities include property and infrastructure development across Auckland with partners such as Latham Construction, Downer and Hawkins,” the report says.

“The business has been the main revenue driver for the iwi over recent years.”

The report also mentions further works in progress at Hendon Avenue (Mt Albert), Unitec Institute of Technology and South Auckland.

As well as the Macleans College land purchase, the iwi also recently acquired the land beneath Glen Innes Police Station. Other works in progress include the Department of Corrections land and building in Manukau City and Te Naupata (Howick Golf Club).

Meanwhile, its waiora (water) business interests include marine and aquaculture plans.

Ngāi Tai recently partnered with Paddy Bull, a leading Coromandel mussel farmer, to secure consent for 220ha of aquaculture space for a mussel farm east of Ponui (Chamberlins) Island in Tikapa Moana (Hauraki Gulf) and is considering applications for consent for further aquaculture space for a mussel farm and oyster farm.

“Waiora will take 50 per cent of the space and have the water space to allow for 120 lines of mussel farming,” the report says.

“As at the date of this report, the tribe has deployed four (of the first 10) mussel lines in the water.

“Partnership with Pakihi Marine Farm – Clevedon Coast Oysters is progressing in respect of an oyster farm just south of Te Tauranga Waka o Tainui adjacent to Duder Regional Park.”

Meanwhile Covid-19 and consequent lockdowns and border closures have taken a toll on the tribe’s eco-tourism business Te Haerenga Trails, which it promotes as a journey through sacred islands Rangitoto (Peretū) and neighbouring Motutapu Islands.

“Whilst Te Haerenga activities have been impacted with the severe drop in tourism as a result of Covid-19, it continues to deliver disproportionate opportunities with the One Billion Tree project commencing at Motutapu, a whale/dolphin watch concession being secured in partnership with Explore in Tikapa Moana and e-bike opportunities being investigated.

“Te Haerenga has partnered with Clime Capital (which owns Man o’ War at Te Huruhe (Man o’ War Bay) with cows now helping manage grass at Motutapu.”

The iwi is also collaborating with the Department of Conservation.