16 Nov 2020

Ngāi Tahu commercial operations suffer $25.6m loss due to Covid-19

7:36 pm on 16 November 2020

Ngāi Tahu's commercial operations have suffered a staggering loss of over $25.6 million after the Covid-19 pandemic hammered its extensive tourism operations.

Exterior photos of Ngai Tahu Tourims building after workers are let go

The Ngāi Tahu' Tourism building. Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

It's a far cry from the $37m profit Ngāi Tahu Holdings made in the financial year prior.

The biggest loses were in Ngāi Tahu Tourism ($6.5m) and its mānuka honey venture, Oha Honey ($21.6m).

"We have not been immune to the effects of the Covid-19 response and like businesses all over the world we are grappling with the fallout," Ngāi Tahu Holdings chairperson Mark Tume said.

"With the borders closed and the country in lockdown, we were forced to act quickly and temporarily pause 10 of our 11 Ngāi Tahu Tourism businesses, which had a major impact on revenue and forced a significant restructure of our operations."

In regards to the huge losses of Oha Honey, the report said that "revenue growth has been challenging", because of a "crowded and competitive marketplace and the complexities of mānuka to new customers and markets," but was looking forward to improved performance in the next financial year.

Meanwhile, Ngāi Tahu Property made a $29.9m operating surplus, and Ngāi Tahu Seafood a $17.2m operating surplus.

Tume said that although the next year would also be difficult, he was confident "that the resilience of our businesses and investment portfolios would meet the challenge."

Ngāi Tahu kaiwhakahaere Lisa Tumahai

Lisa Tumahai. Photo: Supplied

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu kaiwhakahaere Lisa Tumahai said that the "welfare of our whānau and Papatipu Rūnanga remains at the centre of all our decision-making".

In the report, she said the diversification of Ngāi Tahu Holding's portfolios meant that the losses were mitigated by operations that continued to perform well.

The iwi is now a little closer to its goal of getting 1000 whānau using te reo Māori in the home by 2025 through its strategy, Kotahi Mano Kaika, with 70 more whānau joining up, increasing the number of whānau to 638.

The report said the iwi had made "good progress" in reducing the number of tamariki in state care through Ngāi Tahu's strategic partnership with Oranga Tamariki, 277 in June down from 295 in November.

Oranga Tamariki also signed agreements directly with two Papatipu Rūnanga, Kāti Huirapa ki Puketeraki and Te Rūnanga o Ōtākoum, with "several others progressing through the takiwā".

The iwi also met its targets for new membership of its savings scheme, Whai Rawa, which was up 1984 members.

The fund has increased by $100.9m.