Honey investment sours iwi finances
A loss-making investment in a honey company and lower property revaluations reduced Nga¯i Tahu’s annual financial results.
The South Island tribe’s commercial arm reported a net profit of $126.8 million for the year ending June 2017, compared with last year’s $168m.
It was hit with a $19m loss from a joint venture investment in North Island manuka honey and medical products firm Watson & Son. Since balance date Nga¯ i Tahu and the Watson wha¯ nau have split the company between them.
Nga¯ i Tahu Tourism, Farming, Seafood and Property achieved better than expected results for the financial year, Nga¯ i Tahu chairwoman Lisa Tumahai said.
The profit enabled payment of $49.6m ($44m last year) to fund tribal initiatives, kauma¯tua grants, environmental and education initiatives, and cultural and wellbeing programmes.
Another $454,000 was distributed to each of the 18 papatipu ru¯nanga (ruling committees), taking the total over 20 years to $441m for tribal development.
Whai Rawa, an iwi savings scheme, grew to a collective value of $63.75m, an increase of more than $11m on the previous year.
‘‘A particular highlight of the year was our investment in a home ownership pilot that supported five wha¯nau to purchase their first homes in an equity share model,’’ Tumahai said.
‘‘Based on the success of the pilot we will be working towards rolling out this model.’’
The exception to the profitmaking divisions was Nga¯ i Tahu Capital, which posted a net operating loss of $9m because of the Watson & Son investment.
Tumahai said the loss reflected one of the worst manuka honey seasons on record.
The net worth of the tribe, based on the value of assets, rose $89m to $1.36 billion.
Nga¯i Tahu Holdings board chairman Trevor Burt said the tribe had enjoyed a prolonged period of strong growth and exceptional returns over the past few years largely from Nga¯i Tahu Property developments, tourism, the ko¯ura market in China, and farm conversions.
‘‘Things are now easing back as the economy flattens,’’ Burt said.
The annual report shows that a total of $1.6m was paid in directors’ fees across the five trading companies.
Nga¯i Tahu earnings are largely underpinned by property investments such as the redeveloped Post Office precinct in Queenstown.
Tourism has been a strong earner for Nga¯ i Tahu.