• 1989

    Electricity reforms to commercialise power boards. Power consumers in Tairāwhiti engaged with 70% favouring a community trust ownership model.

    Trust Tairāwhiti – first known as the Eastland Energy Community Trust – was established following electricity reforms in the early 1990s.

    Up until the late 1980s, the government’s Ministry of Energy was responsible for electricity, generation and regulatory functions. The Poverty Bay Electric Power Board (PBEPB) was one of 61 electricity supply authorities (ESAs) around New Zealand responsible for local distribution and supply.

    When legislation passed enabling the commercialisation of power boards, the PBEPB became New Zealand’s first power authority to take a trading name, Eastland Energy. As the reform process continued, Tairāwhiti residents were asked who should own shares or assets in the PBEPB, with 70 percent favouring a community trust ownership model.

    1934 PBEPB Building Peel St 1
  • May

    Eastland Energy Ltd was formed gaining assets of Poverty Bay Electric Power Board. $20m equity retained in region through Eastland Energy Community Trust

    On 7 May 1993, the PBEPB was replaced by a new company called Eastland Energy which gained the power board assets. The $20m equity of the power board was retained in region through the Eastland Energy Community Trust (EECT).
    The ECCT Trust Deed outlined its two central objectives – to preserve the capital of the trust, and to provide for its beneficiaries (the people of Tairāwhiti).

    In the first five years, the Trust only took small dividends, leaving money for further investment in the company. It provided its first community grants in 1994 totalling $17,500.

    1980 Xmas Parade
  • 1998

    Reform requiring power companies to separate retail and lines businesses. Eastland Energy became Eastland Network and the retail energy business was sold.

    The Electricity Industry Reform came into effect in 1998, requiring power companies to separate retail and lines businesses. Eastland Energy became lines company Eastland Network and the retail energy business was sold to Contact Energy. As a result, the Trust received a $7.03m dividend that was invested to provide an income source outside of the company.

  • 1999

    Eastland network expanded into generation.

    In 1999, Eastland Network expanded its generation business with the purchase of the 5MW Waihi Power Station.

  • 2003

    The Trust bought Port Gisborne from GDC for $16m. Eastland Infrastructure Limited (EIL)was set up to manage network and port companies.

    The Trust bought Port Gisborne Limited’s business and assets from Gisborne District Council (GDC) in 2003. A new company called Eastland Infrastructure Limited(EIL) was set up to manage both the network and port companies.

    In its first decade, the Trust assets grew from $20m to $77m.

  • 2004

    Eastland Energy Community Trust becomes Eastland Community Trust(ECT)

    The first general manager was appointed at the Trust in 2004, around the same time it also dropped ‘energy’ from its name to become the Eastland Community Trust (ECT).

  • 2005

    Eastland Group takes over management of Gisborne Airport from GDC.

    Eastland Infrastructure expanded to take over the management and operation of Gisborne Airport from the GDC in 2005. Around that time, it provided $200,000 towards a new MRI scanner for Gisborne Hospital. The Trust began to strategically accumulate money with a view to invest in major projects that would benefit the community for the long term. The focus shifted towards self-sustaining, transformative projects that would benefit the regional economy by improving economic, social, cultural and environmental outcomes.

  • 2010

    Eastland Infrastructure Limited became Eastland Group Limited

    In 2010 EIL became Eastland Group Limited. Around the same time, they also purchase a geothermal power station and sets up Eastland Generation Ltd.

  • 2015-2018

    ECT and GDC partner to create Activate Tairāwhiti – the regional Economic Development Agency (EDA) and Regional Tourism Organisation (RTO).

    The ECT established a new organisation, Activate Tairāwhiti in 2015 to perform the role of Economic Development Agency. Later in 2017 Regional Tourism Organisation for Tairāwhiti, partially funded by GDC and central government. In 2018, it also took over the function of city centre promotions from GDC.

  • 2019

    ECT changes name to Trust Tairāwhiti (TT).

    In October 2019, it was agreed to amalgamate the functions of community trust, economic development agency and regional tourism organisation under one umbrella now known as Trust Tairāwhiti. The aim was to deliver greater wellbeing for Tairāwhiti communities, businesses and wellbeing.

  • 2021

    Strategic Plan 2021 – 2026 finalised and wellbeing framework launched.

  • 2023

    The Trust and Eastland group sell Eastland Network to Firstgas Group for $260m. Eastland Network changes its name to Firstlight Network.

  • 2073

    The Trust winds up – Capital beneficiary GDC receives preserved capital.

    In accordance with the Trust deed, the trust will wind up and capital beneficiary GDC will receive preserved capital.