Taranaki tribe Ngati Tama lost all of a $14.5-million Treaty of Waitangi payout it received in 2003 in failed investments. (1) A meeting last weekend attended by about 200 people was given full details of a disastrous string of investments by a seven-member Ngati Tama Development Trust. An emotional Wiremu Matuku of New Plymouth later told the Taranaki Daily News.
The biggest single investment was more than $12.5-million with Australian-based computer software company My Virtual Home Ltd, which is in liquidation with no assets. Other investments included $4.39-million with Tu Ere Fishing Ltd, now likely to offer a minimal return, and $1.19-million with property investment company Open Group Ltd which has no current estimated value.
Ngati Tama, a northern Taranaki tribe that listed 1000 members in 2003, had 74,000 acres of land confiscated after the 1860 Taranaki war. The compensation process for confiscated land proved inadequate for Ngati Tama, who supported Te Whiti’s campaign of passive resistance at Parihaka to 1881.
The Native Land Court ruled in 1882 that Ngati Tama did not retain an interest in two large blocks of land north of the confiscation line. The West Coast Commissions finalised the return of some land, and the Sim Commission of 1926-27 recommended an annuity of £5000 to compensate all Taranaki iwi.
A one-off sum of ₤300 pounds was paid to compensate for the loss of property at Parihaka. Compensation was enshrined in the Taranaki Maori Claims Settlement Act 1944, but Ngati Tama maintain they did not agree to it.
If Ngati Tama had just put $14.5-million in the bank at 3.5 percent they would have earned $507,000 a year, which would have totalled $4.56-million over nine years.
1. Iwi loses most of treaty payout, http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/6753899/Iwi-loses-most-of-Treaty-payout