Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu kaiwhakahaere Mark Solomon (left)
and Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull, at an inaugural hui held at
Tamatea marae, Otakou yesterday. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Future economic opportunity was the focus of an inaugural
hui between Dunedin City Council and Ngai Tahu leaders
Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu kaiwhakahaere Mark Solomon, Dunedin
Mayor Dave Cull, runanga representatives, councillors and
staff took part in the hui at Tamatea marae, Otakou.
Mr Cull said the council had a good and growing relationship
with the local runanga, Otakou and Kati Huirapa Runaka ki
Puketeraki, ''but we didn't have that relationship at iwi
''The important way to achieve that was to meet with the man
at the top, Mark Solomon, and explore what possibilities
might be mutually beneficial for the city and for Ngai
Mr Solomon welcomed the proactive approach. Mr Cull was the
first Dunedin mayor he had met in his 15 years as chairman of
the South Island-based iwi.
''Dunedin has the second biggest number of Ngai Tahu in the
South Island ... it makes sense to have a relationship and
you can't have that until you meet face to face.''
Mr Cull said at a commercial level the iwi was a major
corporate organisation, and ''Dunedin City also had some
pretty big commercial assets and some are in the same field,
The meeting was a chance to discuss partnerships at the
commercial level, and ''we are endeavouring to build a
vibrant and resilient city, and Ngai Tahu want the same for
Mr Solomon said while no specific economic opportunities were
discussed yesterday, the iwi was always looking for new
''Our guys will come down from head office next year to
continue these discussions, and ''hopefully we can get a
win-win for everybody''.
Ngai Tahu's current assets were ''spread across property,
tourism, fishing and an equities pillar, but we are looking
for something reasonably large scale to have that balanced
The iwi took a long-term view in regards to its investments
and ''your perfect partners in an intergenerational sense
would be councils and Government, so it makes sense to work
on those relations''.
Iwi members played an important role in decision making. Mr
Solomon cited an investment opportunity to buy shares in
Christchurch Casino, which did not proceed after it was
widely rejected by members.
While the subject of oil and gas exploration in the area was
not raised, both leaders acknowledged it was likely to be
raised in the future at a runanga level.
Ngai Tahu at a glance
• Geographical area 139,844sq km.
• Tribal membership 49,524 with 23,926 living in South Island
and 20,657 in the North Island.
• Since its 1998 settlement of $170 million, the iwi had
grown its asset base to $658 million.
• $254 million has been distributed and invested in tribal
• Assets include; investments in Ryman Healthcare, 118,000ha
in land, and the Shotover Jet.