The history of Maori Investments Limited began in 1963, with a concept proposed by Tasman Pulp and Paper Company Limited to establish its own forest, called the Tarawera Forest Scheme, in order to meet its wood requirements for its mill.
At the time of the discussions, the Crown owned 7,564 hectares and Tasman 7,830 hectares in the area. In between and surrounding these areas were 44 blocks of mainly undeveloped Maori Land of various sizes totalling 15,416 hectares.
The areas and titles involved are illustrated by Map 1.
In order to make the arrangement commercially viable, agreement was sought to form a tripartite forestry scheme whereby Tasman, the Crown and individual Maori land owners vested land in return for shares in the company, Tarawera Forests Limited.
A series of meetings took place with the Maori land owners in 1965 regarding the Tarawera Forest scheme.
1965 Hui at Kokohinau Marae
A meeting was convened by the Maori Land Court at Kokohinau Marae in December 1965 to discuss the tripartite proposition.
Despite a considerable number of dissenting voices and Maori owners not sufficiently understanding or consenting to the tripartite joint venture, the judge decided that a sufficient number of owners approved the transaction.
Bringing together the land under one title
The 44 blocks would be valued and the land amalgamated into one title, Tarawera No1 pursuant to an order under section 438(1) of the Maori Affairs Act 1958. Map 2 illustrates the area covered by this amalgamated block.
Tarawera No 1 was also amalgamated with the land owned by the Crown and Tasman Pulp and Paper Co Ltd. This was then transferred to Tarawera Forests Ltd which had three shareholders; Maori Investments Limited, the Crown and Tasman Pulp & Paper Co Ltd.
Tasman met all the development costs and would be compensated for their expenditure by increasing their proportion of ownership in Tarawera Forests Ltd at the expense of the other two shareholders.
It is for this reason that although the Crown provided 25% of the land for the project and Maori Investments Ltd 50%, the final shareholding in Tarawera Forests Ltd was 6.6975% and 10.8075% respectively.
Tasman was also responsible for maintaining the accounting and share register for Maori Investments Limited until Tarawera Forests Ltd could distribute dividends.
The first dividend was not distributed until 1989.
In 2004, Maori Investments Limited bought out the remaining partners and now the company is 100% Maori owned.