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Port Nicholson Trust posts first annual profit

Thursday 22 September 2016 09:35 AM

Port Nicholson Trust posts first annual profit, eyes Wellington CBD land

By Sophie Boot

Sept. 22 (BusinessDesk) - Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust, the Wellington Maori tribal investment vehicle, has turned to an annual profit, its first since receiving its Treaty of Waitangi settlement in 2010.

Net profit in the year to March 31 was $54,495 on $3.1 million in revenue, from a $563,763 loss a year earlier on revenue of $936,987, the trust said in a statement. The 2015 report has been restated under new public benefit entities accounting standards, but earlier reports have not. The trust posted a loss of $1.4 million in 2014, and $3.9 million in 2013.

The trust's assets were depleted to $17.3 million in 2015, from $30.4 million at the end of 2010. Toarangatira Pomare, chair of the commercial arm of the trust Taranaki Whānui, said the trust aims to rebuild its assets to 2010 levels in the next five years, and this year's profit had been helped by the collective iwi selectively exercising its treaty settlement rights of first refusal and buying and selling property.

"By managing the on-sale of selected properties carefully, we achieved revenues of $1.825 million and after costs realised more than $400,000," Pomare said. "That amount will only grow as the commercial board further develops its investment profile around Wellington."

The trust is looking to purchase Crown land in Wellington's CBD from agencies including the Ministry of Education, the Department of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Justice under deferred selection property rights. It says purchases of Victoria University's Karori campus land and the former Mt Crawford Prison in Miramar have been well signalled.

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In March, the trust's chair Neville Baker signed a kawenata (covenant) with Waikato-Tainui, cementing its commercial relationship and opening the possibility of joint land development.

It's also developing a $100 million investment fund as part of a "significant tribal co-investment in Wellington that takes advantage of its tribal connections" which will invest in commercial properties, Baker said.

The trust's first residential development in Eastbourne is on track, with three of the four houses sold off the plans, Baker said. A 34-unit development at Jackson St, Petone, and a development at the former Wainuiomata High School site are also planned. Trust members will be given the option to purchase the Petone land before it goes to market, while the trust will retain ownership of the Wainuiomata land with people able to purchase occupational rights.



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