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Wairoa Treaty of Waitangi post-settlement group buys Mahia holiday park

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Rongomaiwahine iwi chief executive Terence Maru, left, and Tatau Tatau Kaihautu Commercial chief executive Aayden Clarke at the Mahia Beach Motel & Holiday Park.

It might be 100 years before Tātau Tātau o Te Wairoa Trust’s vision for the Mahia Beach Motel & Holiday Park becomes a reality.

The trust takes ownership of the iconic three-hectare site on April 5, having purchased it from Hastings-based businesswoman Isobel Creswell.

It’s understood Creswell, who has redeveloped the holiday park in recent years, had offers from overseas investors, but wanted the site to stay in local hands.

Tātau Tātau Commercial Limited Partnership kaihautū (chief executive) Aayden Clarke wouldn’t discuss what the trust paid for the holiday park, but stressed this was an investment that would benefit the community for generations.

Tātau Tātau is a post-Treaty of Waitangi settlement group, charged with managing settlement assets on behalf of its members.

Clarke said it boasts “nearly 9000′’ iwi members and that this is mana motuhake – or self-determination – “at its best.

“We have our financial investment measures when we look at any investment, but we also have some pou [pillars] around some social outputs like what’s good for the community? What will create jobs? What can help circulate that dollar throughout our community?

“We probably have a different investment lens to many post-settlement groups, so no decision is taken lightly.’’

In this instance, that means taking “a bit of a breath’’ and getting “into the business of running a motor camp.”

Yes, there might be ideas about augmenting the existing 24 accommodation units and 150 powered and unpowered sites at the holiday park, but there’s no hurry.

“Our long-term plans could be different from others and they might think our long-term plans could be five years but, for us, it could be 50.”

It’s about the benefit of “our grandchildren and their grandchildren” not making a quick buck or changing the face of Mahia.

That’s an aspiration that appealed to Creswell, who has operated the business for the last three years.

Isobel Creswell, at her home near Hastings. Photo / Warren Buckland
Isobel Creswell, at her home near Hastings. Photo / Warren Buckland

“I wouldn’t have sold it if it wasn’t going to be retained as a holiday park,” Creswell said.

“I really need to get that out there and to thank the locals and my staff and my family and Tātau Tātau.’’

The land is residentially-zoned, but there’s no intent to carve it up in the near future.

“That’s three hectares of prime residential land and that’s not going to change,” Clarke said.

“And, look, as I say, we might have an outlook of one hundred years that someone else doesn’t have. But the key now is we have options.”

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