Video: Ngāti Kahungunu has pathway to get back into a healthy financial situation, says executive chair Bayden Barber
Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated (NKII) has a pathway to get back into a healthy financial situation, says the iwi’s executive chair Bayden Barber.
Barber was speaking to Hawke’s Bay App after a difficult year for NKII which saw it close its fisheries business, Takitimu Seafoods Limited, which was established in 2019. It had reported three years of financial losses totalling $14.9 million to its shareholder Ngāti Kahungunu Asset Holdings Company (KAHC), the investment arm of NKII.
Takitimu Seafoods Limited closed its retail store, online store and wholesale business in Ahuriri earlier this year affecting 33 staff.
Barber said it was a hard decision to lay off staff.
“But the majority of those staff were able to find other work. So that was good, but it's still a hard decision to make, but the right decision, nonetheless.”
“We did go through that process, and we have shut down Takitimu, and immediately you could feel some relief, in terms of looking at our financials. We weren't continuing to push good money into bad.”
Barber says that KAHC has put out a Statement of Investment Priorities as a plan for the future.
“We have a pathway forward to get our iwi back into a healthy financial situation, which then can support the iwi, our language revitalisation, our housing kaupapa, our education scholarships, et cetera. So it's about the economy supporting the oranga, or social, cultural, and wellbeing outcomes of our iwi. And so that's where we are totally focused on that, and we are seeing a lot of light at the end of that tunnel.”
“There's had to be some hard decisions, but they were the right decisions, and we are already seeing the fruits of those decisions today. So yeah, I'm really confident and optimistic about the future.”
Barber says they are looking at a number of investment opportunities.
“In terms of our farm, Tautane Station, we've been able to sit down and have a strategic look at where we want to position ourselves with that farm, and possibly looking at some neighbouring properties.”
“We also have some land holdings in Ahuriri that are good land holdings, and we're in some discussions with potential partners around what we could be doing with that.”
He says there have been approaches from other businesses wanting to partner up.
“That's going well, and then on the iwi side of things, we are working hard in the housing space. One of the things that we've had to do is to procure about 115 temporary cabins for whanau that were impacted by the flood, so all those marae communities that were impacted. It's been a big mahi getting those built and getting those delivered.”
Barber says NKII will be holding its AGM on 25 November.
“If anyone wants to hear about what's going on at the iwi, which is our people, they'll be coming along to that, to hear that face-to-face.”