FAQ’s

Pātai
What are the Trustees’ powers and responsibilities?

The Tumu Kaituna 14 (TK14) Trust is an Ahuwhenua Trust that was established in 1973 and managed by the Māori Trustee. It was transferred to individual trustees in 1990 to ensure the beneficiaries benefit from the land for generations to come. The trustees were appointed by the Māori Land Court.

We (the trustees) have the responsibility and power to make decisions on behalf of beneficiaries to achieve long term benefits, grants and distributions for current and future generations.

Under our Trust Order, our objectives are to provide for the “…best advantage of the beneficial owners or the better habitation or use by beneficial owners, to ensure the retention of the land for the present Māori beneficial owners and their successors…. And to represent the beneficial owners on all matters relating to the land and to the use and enjoyment of the facilities associated therewith.”

In the Maori Appellate Court decision, the Judges made the following important comments on the Trustees’ powers and responsibilities:

  1. It is the responsibility of the Trustees to manage the land and assets prudently and it would be imprudent of the Trustees not to look for realistic proposals to generate income from the land.
  2. The Court found nothing objectionable in the Trustees developing proposals to bring to the owners for the use of the land, which may involve the raising of finance and the use of the Trust lands for security purposes where such activities are permissible under the Trust Order. Also where there is doubt or uncertainty, then it is equally appropriate for the Trustees to promote variations to the Trust Order to achieve their aims.
  3. Owners are entitled to accurate, timely and correct information.
    We have developed the new website as the appropriate place to obtain accurate, timely and correct information.
  4. It is the Trustees responsibility to make decisions, not the owners. The Trustees accept that it is their job to make decisions, however they will always endeavour to consult with owners and seek majority support on major decisions.
  5. Postal voting is an appropriate way of engaging with owners even though this is not yet in the Trust Order.

You can learn more about Ahu Whenua Trusts here and you can read the Trust Deed (the guiding document) here

How long is a trustee’s term?

Trustees keep the role for life until they resign or are removed by the Court.

However, in recent years the beneficiaries and Trustees have raised the idea of trustee rotation.

We supported trustee rotation in 2017 and included it in our applications to the Māori Land Court that were heard in June 2018. The applications were declined by the Court in October 2018 and appealed to the Maori Appellate Court in 2019.

The Maori Appellate Court delivered its decision on 9 April 2020. The Court’s decision was in two parts:

  • Firstly to decline the Trust’s appeal of the original decision by Judge Coxhead of the status change application on the basis that the Court did not have jurisdiction to hear the application unless a partition application was lodged at the same time, and
  • Secondly to allow the Trustees appeal in part on the variations of the Trust Order subject to further owner’s consultation and to then take these matters back to the Maori Land Court.

The process for rotation election of Trustees is one of the variations that the Court agreed should be considered further and this will be taken back to the Court in due course.

Why is the trust going to court?

It is hard to borrow against Māori land because banks will only lend against a fraction of its worth. This is because of ‘alienation restrictions’.

We are not selling the land, so to get the money required for infrastructure and development, we need borrow it.  We asked the Māori Land Court for permission to change the status of a portion (approximately 50 hectares) of the TK14 block from Māori Freehold title to general title. The plan is to keep the land in Trust ownership under a fully owned Trust single entity.

The majority of beneficiaries who took part in in the 2017 postal vote supported the Trust’s Applications to the Court. When the Court turned down our applications, we appealed to the Māori Appellate Court.

The Maori Appellate Court delivered its decision on 9 April 2020. The Court’s decision was in two parts:

  • Firstly to decline the Trust’s appeal of the original decision by Judge Coxhead of the status change application on the basis that the Court did not have jurisdiction to hear the application unless a partition application was lodged at the same time, and
  • Secondly to allow the Trustees appeal in part on the variations of the Trust Order subject to further owner’s consultation and to then take these matters back to the Maori Land Court.

Due to the short window of time allowed to lodge an Appeal, in order to protect the Trust’s position and based on initial legal advice received, the Trustees have decided to appeal the first part of the latest decision to the New Zealand Court of Appeal to resolve questions of law. If these questions are left where they sit it will adversely affect any future development proposals that the Trust may wish to progress via the Maori Land Court.

For example the Trust did not submit a partition application because that contemplates a separation into different ownership which is not what the Trust asked for. While we don’t like incurring ongoing legal costs it is important the legal issues are clarified so we can move forward and not waste the 4 years that we have been in this process.

Is the proposal to convert Maori Freehold Title Land to General Title Land new?

No. There is a statutory mechanism that allows this under sections 135 and 137 of the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act (1993). It has been frequently used by several other Trusts and Incorporations in proposals approved by the Māori Land Court; local examples include the Mangatawa Papamoa Blocks Inc.

Why are you focused on urban development - aren’t there other options?

At first we tried farming and cropping on the land, but it was unsustainable. The land wasn’t profitable for intensive farming and there were a number of crop failures. The sandy soils needed a lot of capital investment including things like irrigation and better soils, and it was simply too expensive to operate.

We believe the combination of commercial and residential development makes the most long-term sense based on the significant urban growth that has occurred and continues in Papamoa and Papamoa East.

The need for commercial and residential land, combined with the proximity of the TK14 land to transport (Tauranga Eastern Link), services (the proposed The Sands Town Centre) and coastal reserves, the beach and the Kaituna River means the TK14 land is in a valuable location. This has the long-term potential to generate significant returns to our beneficiaries and future generations.

What is the timeframe for development?

If we were able to develop the land, the first step (aside from infrastructure, roading etc) would be working to undertaking development to create employment opportunities. You can see the area planned for light commercial/industrial development here.

That would be leasehold land which would begin to generate an income for beneficiaries as soon as it was established.

We need to secure funding for infrastructure and developments costs before we can go ahead with the commercial/industrial development. Later, if we have the support of beneficiaries, the plan allows for housing on leasehold land.

Why are you allowing the Sand Mine?

The Sand Mine has been our main form of income in recent years. This has been very important because there is little else the land can be used for (aside from the proposed development).

The Sand Mine has the consents required to operate from both Tauranga City Council and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

The Tauranga City Council consent is being renewed to allow for limited future sand mining and rehabilitation of previously mined areas. The excavated sand will be replaced with material from Stevenson’s Poplar Lane Quarry which will then allow development to occur over time.

Why does the land need to be productive anyway?

Aside from our obligation to deliver income from the land to beneficiaries, we also need to pay our bills.

We need to fund annual operating costs, the costs of beneficiary communication and consultation, maintaining a beneficiaries register, advisers to help the Trust progress the development opportunities, council rates and, legal costs.

Are you planning to develop over significant sites?

No. There has been a lot of work by historians and archaeologists to pinpoint the locations of significant sites. Te Tumu and Te Kopua pa sites are not part of the block, and therefore are not included in any development plans.

Human bones have been discovered in the area. Are you planning to develop on those sites?

No. The bones were found in sand dune areas which are not on any development plans. Before roads, the beachfront was the main highway for people going between Papamoa and Maketu and there were rival encounters along that route.

The TK14 block goes up to the high water mark, but there would be no development along the coastal protection zone, which includes the old pathways.

You can see the site of the old urupa here. It is part of the coastal zone which is not included in any development plans.

What ecological protections would you put in place?

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Tauranga City Council have identified Special Ecological Areas, Natural Character Areas, Outstanding Landscape Areas and Biodiversity Areas on the Land, mainly in the coastal dunes area. These areas are recognised in the Tauranga City Plan, Regional Policy Statement and Regional Coastal Environment Plan and are protected from development.

The extensive areas of protected land, together with the areas along the Wairakei Stream, will require planting and protection works as part of any development, including the removal of gorse and weeds. We don’t have the money for these works without extra income and funding.

Further upstream (on a non TK14 block), the land along the banks of the stream has been landscaped and protected. We want to restore the land in the TK14 block to the same standard.

What is in the development for beneficiaries?

There are two main ways beneficiaries would gain from development.

The first is through ongoing ownership of the land and financial returns. Right now the land is a cost to the trust. The goal is to develop parts of the block so that it eventually brings benefits, grants and distributions to beneficiaries.

The second specific benefit is the planned holiday park and cultural centre. This will be a prime piece of beachfront land suitable for camping/caravans with on-site management and facilities. The holiday park will be for the priority use of the beneficiaries and their whanau.

We want the facilities to be good enough for the park to be used for hui and other gatherings throughout the year.

Can beneficiaries access the TK14 block?

The large number of beneficial owners, combined with the Trustees’ responsibility under the Health and Safety at Works Act, a lack of facilities on the block and security means that, unfortunately, access for beneficiaries is not available at this stage.

One of the first developments proposed for TK14 is the planned holiday park and cultural centre, which will provide access to those areas of the block for beneficiaries and their whanau.

What happens if development doesn’t go ahead?

We are (and have been) actively participating in the planning processes for the Te Tumu Urban Growth Area because we are bound by the Trust Order to find ways to manage the land to the best advantage of the beneficial owners.

Council supports plans to develop the land for recreational, commercial, residential and ecological purposes because it ties in with the city’s future growth plans in accordance with the SmartGrowth Strategy and its planned development programme.

Our main priority is to get the best outcomes for the beneficial owners and Tauranga City Council have been fully respectful and supportive of our aspirations.

Are you under council pressure to develop?

No. While The Trust isn’t under pressure to develop, we are (and have been) actively participating in the planning processes for the Te Tumu Urban Growth Area because they are bound by the Trust Order to find ways to develop the land for the owners.

Council supports plans to develop the land for recreational, commercial, residential and ecological purposes because it ties in with the City’s future growth plans in accordance with the SmartGrowth Strategy and its planned development programme.

The Trust’s main priority is to achieve the best outcomes for the beneficial owners. The Tauranga City Council have been fully respectful and supportive of the Trusts aspirations.

How will you keep landowners informed?

We have been notifying beneficiaries of plans and developments, but we are keen to reach more of our people. We want to keep as many beneficiaries as possible informed.

If you are a registered beneficiary and have not heard anything from the Trust, we may not have your latest details.

Please contact the trust on 07 343 1050 or contact us here and check this website for updates.

I am a beneficiary and I have not had any contact with the trust

Please contact the trust on 07 343 1050 or contact us here so we can update your contact details.

This will mean we can keep you informed on developments, hui and other consultation.

If this goes ahead, when can beneficiaries expect to see a return?

A good example of a similar project is the work done by the Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust in Rotorua. Their development of what is now Rotorua Central Mall started in 1993 with the transfer to the Trust by the Crown of General Land owned by Maori, worth $5 million comprising the former Rotorua Railway Station and yards.

At the beginning, beneficiaries were told by the Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust that they should not expect to see returns for the first decade. After that time, the development had repaid significant debt and the Trust was able to use funds to help beneficiaries. This was in the form of owners’ distributions as well as health grants and other benefits. Today the Trust has assets in excess of $170 million.

I haven’t had any Trust communications- what information is available?

If you have not had any contact from us, please get in touch so they can update your details.
In the meantime, you can click here for a list of what the trust has shared with owners from 2008 to 2018.