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Iwi partnership purchases Crown land and forests

30 June 2015

Iwi partnership purchases Crown land and forests


E ngā mana, e ngā reo o te motu, tēnā koutou katoa. E mihi ana ki a koutou i ngā āhuatanga o te wā.

A Ngāti Tūwharetoa partnership, the Tūwharetoa Settlement Trust (TST) and five other Tūwharetoa entities, have finalised the purchase of 8,500 hectares of Crown land in the central North Island. This includes around 4,000 hectares of timber plantations.

The sale and purchase by Hautu-Rangipo Whenua Limited (HRWL), valued at $52.7 million, was marked at Rongomai marae today by Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, Ta Tumu te Heuheu, CNI Iwi representatives, and representatives of the iwi partnership.

TST Chairman, Dylan Tahau, said the deal has significant strategic and commercial benefits for the iwi partnership.

“This is a major milestone for our iwi. To complete this purchase and have the land returned makes this a great day for Ngāti Tūwharetoa.

“We are really pleased that the iwi has been able to collaborate to make this a success. Bringing together six Tūwharetoa entities and eight hapū to enable this to happen is something we are really proud of.

“We also acknowledge the support of CNI Iwi Holdings and we look forward to working with the Corrections Department going forward,” said Mr Tahau.

Hautu-Rangipo Whenua Limited includes a TST subsidiary, two large forestry Trusts, three Tūwharetoa farming entities, and a collective entity representing eight hapū. The purchase is part of the Deferred Settlement Process, which was agreed with the Crown in the 2008 Central North Island (CNI) Treaty Settlement.

The land purchase encompasses the Tongariro/Rangipo Corrections Facility and will see HRWL leaseback around 770 hectares to the Corrections Department for its ongoing operations.

HRWL has also settled a transaction with Sydney-based forestry investment manager New Forests for a forestry right on the land. The management right will be acquired by Taupō Estate Limited, a New Zealand-based company managed by New Forests. The forestry right has a term of 30 years.

“The land at Hautu-Rangipo is important to us as it has several waahi tapu, and a number of rivers and streams flowing through it and in to Lake Taupō, so there are both economic and cultural benefits to having it returned.

“The leaseback arrangements and the forestry right sale to New Forests, will see us receive revenues from the land immediately upon completion of the purchase. This is a great outcome for Ngāti Tūwharetoa,” said Mr Tahau.

The purchase agreement also includes a significant commitment to change farm land to forestry in order to protect the water quality in Lake Taupō by reducing Nitrate leaching. This work will be undertaken together with the Lake Taupō Protection Trust.

TST’s involvement in the Hautu-Rangipo partnership means that Ngāti Tūwharetoa has raised $67.5 million over the past two years to purchase Crown land as part of the Deferred Settlement process. This has seen the return of over 9,300 hectares of land to the iwi.

Through its Tūwharetoa Property Investment Partnership, TST led the acquisition of the land under nine schools in Taupō, other Corrections’ properties, and the Taupō Courthouse. Ngāti Tūwharetoa is now one of the largest landowners in the Taupō township.

ENDS

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