Tuesday 4 April 2023, 12:10PM

By Kahungunu Iwi



Ngāti Kahungunu's fisheries business, Takitimu Seafoods Limited today announced it will close its retail store, online store and wholesale business in Ahuriri, affecting 33 staff.


Takitimu Seafoods Limited, which was established in 2019, had reported three years of financial losses totalling $14.9 million to its shareholder Ngāti Kahungunu Asset Holdings Company (KAHC), the investment arm of Ngāti Kahungunu iwi Incorporated.


Ngāti Kahungunu Asset Holdings Company chair Trevor Moeke said with

financial losses likely to continue, coupled with an enforced six week closure due to the impact to its operations from Cyclone Gabrielle, KAHC recommended to the Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi incorporated Board to close down the business.


“We have been working hard to right the waka over the last nine months, but ultimately the business has a directive to be profitable for our iwi, so it can protect the interests of its members, and at the moment it isn’t a viable operation”.


“The iwi has a long term strategic vision to ensure the wellbeing of its people and we need to focus our financial resources on other business opportunities; explore new opportunities as they arise, to create a financial return that ensures Ngāti Kahungunu delivers positive outcomes for its people now and well into the future.”


The cyclone event on February 13-14 forced a shutdown of all operations initially due to electricity and telecommunication outages, then checks on any damage to the buildings and equipment, supply chain issues and rāhui that prevented fishing boats from leaving port.


Takitimu Seafood Limited chairman Ngahiwi Tomoana said it was a difficult decision to close permanently and the priority now is to support the 33 fulltime and part time employees.  Management and Board met with staff today as part of its consultation process.


“We have tried everything from a restructure last year, to cutting back on operational costs but the business is unlikely to return a profit for some time, which it is expected to do,” Mr Tomoana said. 


Takitimu Seafoods has offered to pay permanent staff eight weeks pay, while the iwi has re-established its Manaaki Support Centre that was successfully used following last year’s restructure along with assisting with employment opportunities with local businesses. 


Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated chair Bayden Barber said that although the decision not to reopen was difficult, it was also prudent and in the best interests of the iwi and its people.


“We have a responsibility to act in the best interests of all members and it has come to a point following the outcome of an independent review along with the prudent advice from our asset holdings company board that the fisheries business would continue to need additional funding”.


“They advised us that its current situation is unlikely to improve for some time, therefore this is the best way forward”.


“It enables our investment entity to focus its efforts into the assets that are performing well and have greater chance of financial success. It’s a bottom-line that our business interests are profitable as they ensure we enhance the mana and wellbeing of Ngāti Kahungunu”.


“Tukuna kia moe hei ara ake anō tō tātou iwi – put Takitimu Seafoods to rest so that we may replenish our people,” Mr Barber said.


The closure doesn’t impact the fishing quota partnerships with Moana NZ and Sealord.


Mr Tomoana said Takitimu Seafoods will work with its current creditors.