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Māori co-investment fund touted

Crown, Ngāti Awa, NZ Super Fund to investigate Māori co-investment fund

By Paul McBeth

July 5 (BusinessDesk) - Government officials will buddy up with Ngāti Awa Group Holdings and the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to find out whether it's feasible to set up an investment fund for various iwi to pool their resources.

Ngāti Awa and the Super Fund put forward the idea of a Māori co-investment fund during a series of hui earlier this year as a means for iwi to benefit from the opportunities afforded to investors with scale. He kai kei aku ringa, the Crown-Māori economic partnership jointly led by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Te Puni Kokiri, will work with Ngāti Awa and the Super Fund to undertake a scoping study and engage with more than 30 Māori organisations interested in investing in such a fund. MBIE is funding the study.

The first stage of the project will identify potential models for the fund and prepare background material before engaging with iwi and Māori organisations over the next three months.

"We have a lot of underutilised assets in the Māori economy, particularly land, that need investment to grow," Liz Te Amo, Te Tumu Whakarae at MBIE, said in a statement. "Mobilising this investment is a core plank of He kai kei aku ringa, so we’re pleased to support Māori enterprises who will collaborate for growth, and it’s great to see NZ Super Fund and Ngāti Awa taking this initiative for our people."

Māori collectives have built up investments and assets worth more than $15 billion and the wider Māori economy is estimated to be worth some $50 billion as Treaty of Waitangi settlements are wrapped up, and portfolios mature.

In April, the Māori Trustee Te Tumu Paeroa linked up with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council's investment arm, Quayside Holdings, to spend $30 million developing 10 kiwifruit orchards on Māori land over the next year and a half, building a viable asset and then transferring the orchards back to Māori owners after 12-to-17 years to meet a target return. Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell has been pushing through legislation that would lift the management of collectively-owned land, which he says will help drive agricultural business development on those properties.

NZ Super Fund chief investment officer Matt Whineray said iwi investors have an intergenerational horizon, which aligns with the pension fund, and that those partnerships are "integral to the NZ Super Fund's direct investment model".

Ngāti Awa Group Holdings chief executive Geoff Hamilton said the co-investment fund would give Maori investors "access and participate in much larger scale opportunities than could be achieved individually" and provide "better options for enhancing investment returns, diversifying our portfolios, and creating significant benefits for our communities and stakeholders.:


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