News from home / Politics / Business
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18 Dec 2017

Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou Annual General Meeting

TE RUNANGANUI o Ngati Porou Group reported solid gains this year at the organisation’s 2017 hui a tau (annual general meeting) which was held at Hauiti marae in Tolaga Bay on November 25.

Details about the achievements made across the group’s network of commercial and cultural subsidiaries, and health and social service operations, were communicated to over 200 iwi members who attended the hui a tau in person, and the 1000 viewers who tuned in to the live web-cast from around the world. Substantial cost savings, attributed to a policy of stream-lining service divisions and trimming backroom costs, were also reported. In 2016/2017 the overall asset base of the group grew to $233m, its net equity improved by $10m and bank borrowings reduced by $1.5m.

TRONPnui chief executive, Herewini Te Koha addresses the hui a tau, which was live streamed to over 1000 viewers from around the world.

Whanau Oranga

TRONPnui’s social service arm, Whanau Oranga, delivered more than 20 services to 3000 clients supporting new born babies right through to care for pakeke and the needs of emerging adults for work skills and youth mentoring. The fact that Whanau Oranga pulls this feat off, year in year out, amid staff reductions and with Whanau Ora funding levels remaining static at just over $2m a year, is an extraordinary achievement, said TRONPnui chairman, Selwyn Parata.

Selwyn also said that Whanau Oranga had kept its accreditation as an approved housing provider leasing four homes and a six-bedroom property to boost the stock of emergency accommodation available to Ngati Porou and others in Gisborne. A home for vulnerable rangatahi (youth) is also under consideration. TRONPnui chief executive, Herewini Te Koha says a collaborative approach to tackle the ngangara (blight) of methamphetamine use was a major focus for Whanau Oranga.

The social services division of TRONPnui led a series of road shows about this issue in Gisborne and within East Coast communities. “Ngati Porou wanted to be at the forefront of educating whanau about the drug’s impact on communities,” says the chief executive.

Toitu Ngati Porou

Toitu Ngati Porou chairwoman, Lilian Tangaere-Baldwin said $1.02 million in marae grants and $40,000 in capital grants had been paid out in continuation of Toitu’s role in supporting the ongoing maintenance and improvements of marae in the rohe. “We’ve made a change in policy to support marae grants to extend the timeframe for funding to marae who have not uplifted their allocation,” said Lilian.

As part of its cultural development brief, the Toitu board continued to spearhead its Ngati Porou Reo strategy, selecting the successful applicants for the positions of Reo Champions and rolling out its support of Radio Ngati Porou’s digital archive.

Toitu also approved $240,000 for Reo funding and contributed $10,000 to each of the kapa haka groups representing the Ngati Porou district at Te Matatini.

Ngati Porou Hauora chairman, Teepa Wawatai speaks to more than 200 iwi members who attended the hui a tau.

Ngati Porou Hauora

Ngati Porou Hauora (NPH) chairman, Teepa Wawatai said it’s onwards and upwards for the Hauora with 2017 marking the first time in 12 years the health provider had operated at a surplus. “Five years ago the board inherited a Hauora that was in serious trouble. It was failing to meet its performance targets. It was in mountains of debt. This year, we made a surplus.

In addition to that, we appeared in the top five of Public Health Organisations (PHOs). No other PHO in the country has made those kind of achievements over that period of time.” A series of discussions with the Crown has led to an agreement to develop a business case for government investment in health provision in the region. Teepa says the board has prioritised IT (information technology) and accurate data gathering. This year that strategy has continued its momentum with NPH clinics and hospital now connected to the fibre highway.

Questions from the floor raised concerns over the welfare of pakeke (elders) after the fire that destroyed the NPH Tikitiki clinic resulting in patients having to travel to Ruatoria, Matakaoa or Gisborne to have their health needs met. TRONPnui chairman, Selwyn says he understood the distress felt by whanau at the loss of the fire damaged health centre adding that the closure highlighted the need to rethink the current model of service provision. “All parties will need courage, a willingness to innovate and compromise where that is appropriate so we achieve the quality and level of health and social support services that meet the needs of our whanau.”

NPH chairman, Teepa says the future of rural practice will entail having multipurpose facilities for the Coast rather than clinics open only two days a week. He says while mobile-clinics are being considered to service isolated coastal communities, there was no plan to implement them at this stage. “We need to make better use of our resources — smarter ways of providing for our future. We need to add technology into how we provide care.” He says NPH is proposing a redesign of Te Puia Hospital purpose-built for the needs of the Coast. “Imagine a teaching centre where the focus is on Maori and rural health - a hub for small business and social enterprises, even an age-care centre where our pakeke can live and die well. That picture of a repurposed Hauora is the sort of facility that will make us competitive in attracting clinicians.”

NPHCL director, Diana Puketapu reported on Holdco's performance. 

Ngati Porou Holding Company

Ngati Porou Holding Company’s director Diana Puketapu reported on Holdco’s performance across its diverse commercial operations. “Our general approach is to be cautious, prudent and conservative because we are charged with protecting Ngati Porou assets,” said Diana.

Ngati Porou Holdings Company Ltd earnings were $15.3m, up from $6.5m in 2016 with revenue more than doubling. The 7.4 percent return on net assets enabled an early payment of the dividend to TRONPnui to go about its cultural, social and environmental work. Already a low-geared financial entity with equity of 91 percent, this year the group has managed a $500,000 reduction in interest on borrowings.

Ngati Porou Seafoods Group and Pakihiroa Farms Limited (PFL) maintained consistent profit levels despite a year full of challenges in both sectors. Ngati Porou Seafoods Group (NPSG) delivered a net profit of $900,000 (about the same as 2016) providing consistent returns despite challenges in harvesting Inshore finfish and the recent drop in the market price for koura. The seafood group’s goal of creating more full-time jobs (45+ by 2020) will be dependent on improving the retail revenue of branded products such as Ahia and Real Fresh.

Despite the challenges of the past year, PFL managed to maintain an overall profitability at $459,976. The net profit from farming activities was $890,154. This was lower than the previous year’s result of $950,126. The farming operation has set an objective over the next three years of creating 11 new on-farm jobs based on projected increases in revenue.

Diana says Holdco has stuck to its medium-term forestry strategy with the harvesting of Hoia forest and subsequent replanting of a further 580 hectares going ahead as planned. There were a range of forestry assets returned as part of the 2015 settlement agreement. This year the Holdco on sold the carbon credits produced by some of those assets creating cash returns of $3.3m. “We are looking for joint venture over a 25-year period to continue the planting and we expect benefit from the carbon credits to accrue on all future tree growth,” she says.

Despite an “excessively poor harvesting year”, Ngati Porou Miere benefited from the storage of the previous year’s Manuka honey since the unique Manuka factor (UMF) rate of the product increases with time which in turn generates higher returns. Holdco’s conservative investment approach has not stopped the group from diversifying its operations by expanding into blueberries for planting locally.

Further investment of up to $1.8m in a Gisborne studio for Amanti Tourism and coupled venture, Pohewa Design is likely to create the potential for internships and employment, says Diana. “It’s an exciting partnership. Ngati Porou shareholders own a 40 percent stake in the young company and future investment will be conditional on the venture providing clear benefits to Ngati Porou.” Holdco is gauging early interest from Air New Zealand in a possible tourism collaboration focusing on an experience of Hikurangi Maunga. The national airline is also looking at featuring Ngati Porou seafood and high end agri-products as part of the brand’s in-flight cuisine and has signed an expression of interest to that effect.

The hui-a-tau concluded with a presentation about the TRONPnui Trust Deed Review process, a general business section and an open forum.

TRONPnui AGM (full video recording)