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Maori investment collective buys 2.5% Kaingaroa stake from NZ Super

Maori tribesman

An investment partnership formed by six Maori iwi, or tribes, has bought a 2.5% stake in Kaingaroa Timberlands from the NZ$24.9 billion (US$20.8 billion) New Zealand Superannuation Fund, Auckland.

The price paid by Kakano Investment Limited Partnership — formed recently by six Maori tribes on New Zealand's North Island — isn't being disclosed, according to a New Zealand Superannuation news release Monday.

Catherine Etheredge, a spokeswoman for New Zealand Superannuation, said in an e-mail that the deal was an arm's length transaction, at a market price.

A treaty settlement in 2008 returned 176,000 hectares (435,000 acres) to eight central North Island tribes, which included 90% of the Kaingaroa Timberlands. Ms. Etheredge said the forest crop wasn't part of the settlement, although the iwi received a return from the renting of the land.

The transaction was attractive to New Zealand Superannuation “because of the strategic benefit we see in having the underlying landowners participating in and aligned with the Kaingaroa Timberlands forestry business,” Ms. Etheredge said.

Vanessa Eparaima, chairwoman of Kakano Investment Limited Partnership, said in the news release, that the deal “enhances iwi participation at all levels of the forestry business.”

With the deal's completion on Feb. 28, New Zealand Superannuation remains Kaingaroa Timberland's biggest shareholder with a 38.75% stake, down from 41.25%, followed by the Montreal-based Public Sector Pension Investment Board, with 30%; Cambridge, Mass.-based Harvard University, with 28.75%; and Kakano Investment Limited Partnership, with 2.5%.