Hapu business group has big plans for Napier Crown-owned land

Mana Ahuriri announces $80 million in developments in its first phase of its post-treaty settlement business strategy. 

A newly formed Hawke's Bay hapu business group is planning $80 million in new commercial and retail developments in Napier in the first phase of developments that could run into the billions of dollars.

The Mana Ahuriri Trust is the vehicle managing the Ahuriri Treaty of Waitangi settlement for 2500 members of various hapu in the Ahuriri and Napier areas.

In November 2016 the trust was granted a settlement, 90% of which comprises the entitlement to buy various Crown land assets, and the rest a $19.5 million cash payment.

Most of the land assets remain confidential but, as they are being rolled out, the trust has formed subsidiary Mana Ahuriri Holdings in a bid to capitalise on the development potential.

“The biggest value [of the treaty settlement] is the access to Crown-owned assets,” Mana Ahuriri director Barry Wilson tells NBR.

Mr Wilson, who was a lead negotiator in the settlement process, says the trust will be able to use bank loans to finance the purchase of Crown assets for up to 50 projects in Napier.

Mana Ahuriri has today announced two projects, together worth up to $80m.

The first will be a $20m retail development, which will house businesses including Briscoes and Rebel Spot, and more than 150 customer carparks. Warren Ladbrook, a director and project manager at Mana Ahuriri, says this will be completed by mid-2019.

This will be followed by a $40-60m industrial zone, which is still being finalised.

Jobs and development for Napier
Mr Wilson says until now commercial growth in much of Napier City had been stalled because there was limited development land on offer.

He says the first 10 projects could create more than 1000 new jobs for the region.

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton says the development will improve opportunities for the community and bring in talent from afar.

Mana Ahuriri plans to develop a diverse asset portfolio in Napier over the next decade. Other than retail and industrial, it says it will explore residential developments, commercial investments and forestry.

In 2015, the trust agreed to buy the Crown’s 50% stake in Hawke’s Bay Airport – to be renamed Ahuriri Airport Hawke's Bay – after gaining the rights to buy it under the treaty settlement. Mr Wilson says negotiations for the sale are still under way.

Mana Ahuriri also announced in April it had opened a new $4.5m shipping container depot, with storage company ContainerCo the tenant.

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