Formed three years ago in Ruatoria, Hikurangi Enterprises is a charitable trust with the distinct purpose of helping communities in this remote East Coast region. Jointly owned by a number of local hapū, its purpose is to stimulate economic development by raising incomes, promoting entrepreneurship and educating families about living well off the land and sea.
The Tindall Foundation (TTF) allocated $160,000 to Hikurangi Enterprises in 2017 and 2018 directly from its Community focus area. This met a number of the Foundation’s goals, namely helping a local Māori economic enterprise flourish and providing sustained benefits for whānau, hapū and iwi.
“The funding enabled Hikurangi to undertake a range of research and development opportunities that have led to real commercial opportunities for the charitable company,” says Manu Caddie, Co-founder.
Hikurangi focuses on natural product development and high-value primary industries but also invests time and money in renewable energy and telecommunications infrastructure among local communities, which have some of the lowest household incomes in the country.
TTF’s donation allowed Hikurangi to employ a general manager to oversee a number of projects, including a multimillion-dollar medicinal cannabis enterprise. “More than 40 people have been employed since TTF invested in 2016 and it is special to remember the day their staff members visited when we were just fencing off the trial area to plant our first crop of hemp,” Manu recalls.
This project meets multiple TTF priorities including investing for impact and growing opportunities in economically deprived regions and communities. The investment is having a tangible impact on the region where the money is being spent, Manu confirms: “The residents of Ruatoria and wider Tairāwhiti communities are benefiting with real jobs and more importantly real hope that good things can happen.”