Honey in­vest­ment sours iwi fi­nances

The Southland Times - - BUSINESS - CHRIS HUTCHING

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.

PHOTOS: SUP­PLIED

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.

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