A key role for local knowledge
Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Peeni Henare was keynote speaker at the Northland Foundation’s end-of-year event, on the subject of government and business helping charitable funds grow.
Mr Henare, who grew up in Whanga¯rei, said around 1.2 million New Zealanders volunteered, and 27,000 charities were registered around the country.
Communities needed to know and act on what was best for themselves, he said, citing Whanga¯rei as an example of a town that knew its own challenges.
The government was exploring how charity tax regimes could support community endeavours, he said, while he had been gained inspiration from the Social Enterprise World Forum.
The theme of the function was encouraging business partnerships.
Northland Foundation chairman Richard Ayton explained to the gathering of business and community leaders that his organisation had taken many of its cues from the Tindall Foundation, one of the first to appreciate the importance of building partnerships between businesses, charities and government.
The function focused on appealing for financial bequests.
“Northland is often asset-rich but cash-poor, so people setting up bequests while they are living is a good way to help the community,” Mr Ayton said.
Some bequests to charities in Northland ended up going to a national body and did not directly reach the regions, however, so the plea was to “fix some serious holes in Northland’s community” and steer the money away from being “nationalised”.
Northland Foundation’s point of difference was to carefully invest bequests so the capital was retained in perpetuity, the interest being returned to the community over decades.
Northland Foundation manager Greta Buchanan said the organisation had successfully grown funds, including the Kauri Fund for Sport Northland, accruing interest of 11 per cent last financial year.
The foundation currently had $12 million in bequests committed, and managed a fund of around $1 million. So far $4.6 million had been granted to local community and health causes.
Brian Kerr and Heidi Findley, from Craigs Investment Partners, which sponsors Community Foundations of NZ, also gave a presentation about how investment helps charities.
The Northland Foundation, which was established as the Northland Community Foundation in 2004 and re-launched under its current name in 2015, handles a range of funds and grants, including payroll giving, corporate giving and bequests, with the focus on building permanent funds.
It has close relationships with the Tindall Foundation, Sport Northland and Northland DHB, in particular Project Promise, which supported creating the Jim Carney Cancer Treatment Centre in Whanga¯rei. The Kahukuraariki Trust, the Nga¯tikahu ki Whangaroa postsettlement governance entity, legally formed in December last year, plans to host a series of meetings in the North.
The first will be at Waitaruke Marae on Saturday (December 15) starting at 11am, trust chair Dr Ella Henry saying it was hoped that the meetings would “begin a pathway to working with the people on the land and seeking input into future social and economic development strategies for the tribe”.
“We may have settled the claim, but we have yet to embark on a set of strategies that will bring real and meaningful benefits to our people on the land, and for all the tribe,” she said.
“Despite conflicts in the past, I am optimistic we can move forward. This is an exciting time for Nga¯tikahu ki Whangaroa.”
The trustees, who were appointed in May, are Dr Henry (Mangatowai Marae), businessman (and deputy chairman) Norm McKenzie (Waitaruke), local businesspeople, Sandra Heihei (Taemaro) and Roger Kingi (Te Komanga), Ma¯ori educator Makere Karatea (Otangaroa), consultant Glendith Samson (Waimahana), and MWDI chief executive officer Teresa Tepania-Ashton (Waihapa).
Community and Voluntary Sector Minister Peeni Henare (left) and Northland Foundation chairman Richard Ayton at the end-of-year function.