19 Apr 2012

Do good due diligence, adviser tells iwi investors

10:00 am on 19 April 2012

An investment adviser to Maori businesses and trusts says the loss of nearly $20 million in investments by Taranaki iwi Ngati Tama is not a reflection on the strategies of most iwi.

The $14.5 million Ngati Tami got in a 2003 Treaty of Waitangi settlement was invested in a number of areas by the Ngati Tama Development Trust.

One investment was in a computer software company which is now in liquidation

According to a report in the Taranaki Daily News, the Ngati Tama investments totalled $19.8 million but the most it is expected to recoup is $1.5 million.

Richard Jones of the Poutama charitable trust, which gives business and investment advice, says it's essential that iwi have structures and strategies in place and and seek expert advice before making any investments.

He says an extra layer of due diligence is necessary when planned investments are outside the traditional areas such as the primary sector and property.

Mr Jones says that with greater exposure now being given to offshore investments, care is needed.

He says it will be hard for Ngati Tama to recover, but they must move on because what is done is done.