About the Trust
The Ngāti Rārua Ᾱtiawa Iwi Trust represents a unique group of descendants from two iwi. They whakapapa back to one or more of our 94 Ngati Rarua tupuna and 15 Te Atiawa tupuna. These ancestors are the original landowners of our Motueka homelands. As a Trust, we manage and nurture these land holdings on behalf of and for the benefit of all the descendants of the original 109 owners.
The origin of our Trust
In 1853 Governor George Grey took Maori land in Motueka for the purpose of building a school. He made two Crown Grants to the Bishop of New Zealand which enacted the transfer of a total of 918 acres of our Native Reserve land in Motueka to the Anglican Church. These lands become known as the Whakarewa Estates and the Trust established to manage the estate was known as the Whakarewa School Trust.
Objection from the Maori owners and their descendants via submission, petitions, objections and deputations continued unabated for decades, and resulted in three major investigations. However none of these resolved the ownership issues.
Over the next 100 years, the Whakarewa School Trust Board struggled to keep its obligations under the terms of Grey’s grant and the Trust deeds. Its efforts at running a residential agricultural/industrial school met with mixed success, and subsequently it became a home for orphans and children from adverse circumstances.
In the early 1980s the Ngati Rarua Council once again brought up the issue of ownership following another restructure of the Whakarewa School Trust Board’s activities and utilisation of the property for uses not stated in the Trust deed. Support from many Pakeha and Maori sympathisers assisted the cause.
In the early 1990s dialogue opened between the Anglican Church and manawhenua tribes.
The Empowering Act
The efforts of our ancestors were rewarded in 1993 when the Honourable Doug Kidd sponsored a Private Members Bill to return the Whakarewa Estate to the rightful Ngati Rarua and Te Atiawa descendants. The passing of this bill finally returned the lands and accumulated assets to the descendants of its owners 137 years later called the Ngāti Rārua Ᾱtiawa Iwi Trust Empowering Act 1993, and thus establishing the Ngāti Rārua Ᾱtiawa Iwi Trust.
In 1999, NRAIT decided to separate its activities into two divisions, each with its own clear objective and focus.
Koru Investment Group
Ngāti Rārua and Te Ᾱtiawa manawhenua ki Motueka have an entrepreneurial legacy which continues on today with the NRAIT commercial division, the Koru Investment Group. Headed by our chief operating officer John Charleton, the commercial team is tasked with managing and growing the Trust’s commercial assets and identifying new opportunities. The management and the growth of our assets ensures that our second division, Te Whanake, maintains and builds momentum and we can continue to provide a platform for our whānau to achieve their aspirations.
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Te Whanake is NRAIT’s base plan document providing for the social and cultural elements of the Trust.
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