Sophisticated post-settlement Maori corporations are increasingly active in the general M&A market. For example, in August 2014, Ngai Tahu Holdings Corp and Tainui Group Holdings, two tribal (iwi) investment entities, acquired national passenger transit firm Go Bus for $170m.

The government-owned New Zealand Superannuation Fund announced in March 2014 that it had sold a 2.5% stake in New Zealand's largest forestry business, Kaingaroa Timberlands, to six central North Island iwi. The investment is one of the biggest ever involving an iwi collective. In 2013, NZ Super had valued its Kaingaroa investment, which includes 190,000 hectares in the central North Island, at $945m.

We expect that in the near term iwi investment vehicles will continue to focus on primary industries (such as fishing and agriculture) and infrastructure. As their wealth continues to accumulate, they will play an increasingly important role in the domestic M&A market.

The information in this article is for informative purposes only and should not be relied on as legal advice. Please contact Chapman Tripp for advice tailored to your situation.