17 Dec 2012

Ngai Tahu considers Dunedin investment

8:14 pm on 17 December 2012

The South Island iwi Ngai Tahu is to investigate commercial investment opportunities in Dunedin.

The plan was agreed at the first meeting between the iwi runanga's leadership and the Dunedin City Council at Otakou Marae on the Otago Peninsula on Monday morning.

The meeting agreed to explore partnership possibilities, starting with commercial opportunities in the city.

The kaiwhakahaere of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, Mark Solomon, says the iwi's second largest population after Christchurch is in Dunedin, but its investments do not reflect that, so it needs a bigger footprint in the city.

Ngai Tahu owns the Dunedin police station, but has few other holdings in the area.

Mr Solomon says it does not make sense for Ngai Tahu to have all its wealth at the centre with the runanga, and the tribe needs to get out and invest in its communities.

Dunedin's mayor, Dave Cull, says there may be projects the council and iwi can speak with one voice on, and others to hold hands on, but they have never been explored.