Over the 2020-21 financial year, the Trust distributed $2.3 million for projects benefitting the people of Tairāwhiti. The largest distribution went to SuperGrans Tairāwhiti for $717,195 to set up a commercial kitchen to provide meals to families in need.

A range of other organisations and projects were supported, including significant grants to Surf Lifesaving New Zealand, Te R?nanga o Tāranganui-a-Kiwa and Huringa Pai. Last year also saw the opening of Gisborne"s new airport terminal, which the Trust supported with its single largest distribution of $5 million in 2020.

The Trust invested over $6 million into the region to support economic development initiatives that provide jobs and diversity in our economy. This included investments at the Trust-owned Prime site for wood processing. Trust investment in wood processing has leveraged significant private and government funding. For every dollar invested by the Trust in wood processing, $8 of government and private funding has been contributed.

In response to Covid-19, the Trust's business growth team worked with more than 400 local businesses and provided $636,000 worth of professional support services via the Regional Business Partner Programme.

"When the pandemic hit and the region's key forestry industry came to an abrupt halt, it highlighted the need to ensure we have a more diverse and resilient economy and to support workforce participation to its full potential," Mr Clarke says.

"As the sole shareholder of Eastland Group, we acknowledge the company"s strong financial performance that resulted in a $8.9 million dividend for the Trust," says Trust chair John Clarke.

"We thank the whole team at Eastland Group for their efforts, it enables us to deliver on our strategic plan, Te aka rautaki ki te tau 2026, which focuses on supporting community initiatives, future generations of Tairāwhiti, economic development and also helping our communities to understand and apply our wellbeing framework, He Rangitapu He Tohu Ora."

The Trust and Eastland Group have jointly agreed to undertake a review of the Group"s capital structure, following the Trust's three-yearly ownership review. This is to ensure Eastland Group has the best possible capital structure to meet its commercial objectives, and the needs of the Trust and its current and future beneficiaries. The review is in its preliminary stages.

Over the past 18 months, the Trust has also worked in partnership with Gisborne District Council and Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti on a funding proposal to Government covering sports and recreational facilities across the region. Implementing the Community Facilities Strategy will be an ongoing focus in the coming years.

The Trust also advanced its work in relation to climate change. As a Climate Leaders Coalition signatory, the Trust in partnership with Eastland Group has committed to measuring its greenhouse gas footprint with the target of reducing emissions from all our businesses and operations by 21 percent by 2025.

Mr Clarke says while the last financial year presented many challenges with Covid-19, the Trust had maximised opportunities for regional development and wellbeing.

"I'm proud of what we"ve achieved in a difficult year. I would also like to acknowledge departing trustees Dr Paul Reynolds and Ailsa Cuthbert for their instrumental work and incredibly valuable contributions around our governance table.

"We also acknowledge the hard work of staff, trustees, our cultural advisors Ta Derek and "Lady Rose Lardelli, regional partners and everyone involved in the Trust whānau. We will continue to work together achieving our vision for the region: Te Mana " Shared Pride, Te Ihi " Shared Prosperity and Te Wehi " Shared Opportunity."

Click here for a copy of the Trust Tairāwhiti Annual Report 2021.

Click here"for a copy of the Trust Tairāwhiti Statement of Intent 2021-2022.

Click here for a copy of the Trust Tairāwhiti Financial Statements 2021.

PublishDate: 5 August 2021