Creating opportunities that flow through generations is at the heart of the multi-faceted work of the trust that manages Taranaki’s largest iwi.

“A lot of things are humming in Taranaki and Taranaki is in a really good place, so we really want to leverage off that and have a positive, inter-generational impact for our uri,” says Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa Taranaki communications and engagement  advisor Ānaru White.

Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa Taranaki was established following Te Atiawa iwi’s Treaty of Waitangi settlement in 2014. The trust manages and administers the settlement fund.

The iwi has mana whenua over New Plymouth and further afield, and the trust has become an active and aspirational entity in the region, providing opportunities and support to encourage iwi and hapū members to grow and succeed.

“We are all for opportunities and benefits for our uri,” says Ānaru.

“The likes of providing education and cultural support through scholarships, wānanga and the career pathways and  pportunities that flow from that, offering housing and financial services support, supporting hapū with their own projects, supporting whānau with employment through the networks we have developed, and providing education and history about identity and culture.

“Although a large number of our uri are in Taranaki, many are scattered across New Zealand and overseas, so engagement is very important.”

Property investment and development is a key focus of Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa Taranaki’s commercial arm, Te Atiawa Iwi Holdings. 

The company owns properties around Taranaki and has several subdivision projects under way, with the dual aims of generating profits that can be returned to the trust, and helping iwi members into their own homes.

All sections of a 14-property subdivision in the New Plymouth suburb of Fitzroy sold, with hapū and iwi members buying five of the sections, having had an opportunity to purchase before they went to the open market.

Te Atiawa Iwi Holdings is also developing a 60-section subdivision in Waitara, as part of the Papakāinga Network Development programme, which enables homes to be built on ancestral Māori land.

“These projects provide pathways into home ownership for our uri and the opportunities around them are really exciting for whānau and hapū,” says Ānaru.

“Alongside this we provide housing and financial literacy support with the aim to help whānau with homeownership. This is part of a financial package savings scheme that is similar to KiwiSaver but has more tailored benefits, such as shared equity housing and a lower retirement age.”

As the iwi’s property development grows, Ānaru says the connection with the whenua and the environment remains a priority.

“The environment is extremely important to us and there are great things happening in the region, such as hapū and community-led projects,” he says.

“We’re supporting hapū so they can get better resource consents outcomes and have access to clean waterways, and we have teamed with Māori business Parininihi ki Waitotara to provide a scholarship for environment management and planning.

“We’re proud to be here and we’ll always be here. We, as an iwi, see real opportunity in Taranaki for tamariki and mokopuna.”