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Partnerships the key

Strategic business partnerships have also been cultivated with the Perry Group, Hamilton City Council, The Warehouse, Auckland Airport, ACC, Accor Hotels and firms that supply design, construction and project services.

Those partnerships have created both earnings and respect for Waikato-Tainui.

(Left to right) Heeni Katipa, Makau Ariki Atawhai, Kiingi Tuheitia, and Adrian Littlewood pictured at the karakia for Te Arikinui Pullman Auckland Airport Hotel.

It’s also generated much needed jobs with combined business interests employing more than 4000 people, 1300 of whom are identified as tribal members.

The development of the inland port at Ruakura is also a 50:50 joint venture with Ports of Tauranga, allowing TGH to tap into the expertise it needs to operate the hub. 

Chris Joblin, Chief Executive of Tainui Group Holdings says the partnership with Ports of Tauranga gives them a lot of confidence.

“You think about their role within the nation’s supply chain, they are the biggest port so partnering with someone like that with complementary skills to ourselves is really going to accelerate Ruakura.”

Mark Cairns, Port of Tauranga Chief Executive says there is a strong logic to team up with TGH to unlock efficiencies for importers and exporters by utilising Ruakura Inland Port.

“It combines our own expertise in developing and operating ports, the deep regional connections of Tainui Group Holdings and the scale and efficiencies offered by Ruakura and its road and rail connections.”

Port of Tauranga Chief Executive Mark Cairns (left) and Tainui Group Holdings Chief Executive Chris Joblin.

Ultimately, the tribe wants to develop benefits for its people and New Zealand.

In direct terms this includes a TGH policy to return a minimum of 60 per cent of its cash earnings to Lands Trust. This includes the annual dividends for the 68 affiliated marae. By 2045, that could potentially amount to $1 million for some of the larger marae.

The economic shock of the global pandemic COVID-19 may temper the short term returns of the tribe’s commercial arm. But being a long-term investor with strong equity, low debt and a diverse portfolio are expected to help TGH see this through largely intact.

And the development of the Ruakura Inland Port could be one way of ensuring this.