Review of the Deed of Trust for the Rongowhakaata Settlement Trust Information for Whānau


What is the Rongowhakaata Settlement Trust Deed?

The Rongowhakaata Settlement Trust (RST) Deed is the legal document that empowers the Rongowhakaata Iwi Trust (RIT) to hold and manage the Treaty of Waitangi post-settlement assets on behalf of Rongowhakaata. It also sets out the rules on how RIT should do this.

Why are we reviewing the Rongowhakaata Settlement Trust Deed?

It has now been five years since RIT became the corporate trustee for the RST and there is a provision within the RST Deed to review it at this time to ensure that it is working as it was intended to.

Didn’t we review this Trust Deed a few years back and make a number of changes to it?

In 2017 RIT did undertake a review but it was of the RIT Deed, not the RST Deed. The RIT Deed is a separate legal document that established RIT as an incorporated charitable trust.

There were many submissions received on the RIT Deed and a number of substantive changes resulted from this. These changes included the incorporation of Rongowhakaata values, amendments to the representation model and election of trustees, and additional provisions to ensure that trustees conduct themselves appropriately. These changes took effect in November 2017.

Why do we have two Trust Deeds and what is the difference between them?

The RST was established by its own Trust Deed and is in effect the commercial arm of Rongowhakaata and RIT was established by a separate Trust Deed and is Rongowhakaata’s charitable arm. Although being two separate entities, the elected trustees of RIT are responsible for the strategic oversight and governance of both entities in accordance with the two separate Trust Deeds.

While there are some key differences between the two Trust Deeds (for example, the RST Deed contains more specific commercial provisions, such as application of income and archiving of records), the overall provisions are very similar (for example, the appointment, responsibilities, powers and liabilities of the trustees).

RIT appreciate that having two separate Trust Deeds can create confusion and additional effort and cost, so have sought legal advice to determine whether Rongowhakaata needs to continue to have two Trust Deeds once we have completed this review.

Given the similarities between the two Trust Deeds and that the changes from the review of the RIT Deed have only been in effect for just over 2 years, surely this would have implications for this review?

Yes it does. Given the overall similarity in most of the provisions of the two Trust Deeds, to save time and costs RIT decided last year to update the RST Deed to align with the RIT Deed. A summary of these proposed ‘alignment’ changes and the provisions more specific to the RST Deed has also been provided for your consideration.

If the Rongowhakaata Settlement Trust Deed has already been updated, why still have the review?

RIT are legally obligated to conduct a review of the RST Deed at this time. Although the RST Deed has been updated to align with the RIT Deed, these changes still form part of the formal review process and will not come into effect until passed by a special resolution. Furthermore, an overview of the updated RST Deed is required to ensure that the specific commercial provisions are still relevant, and the overall RST Deed is consistent with Trust Law and the purpose for which it was established. RIT have engaged a lawyer, Spencer Webster, to undertake this formal review.

So why am I being notified about this?

At the 2019 hui-a-tau, whānau were notified that copies of the 2014 and updated RST Deeds were available at the RIT offices, and were invited to make any submissions for amending the RST Deed.

Only one submission has been received to date and RIT wants to ensure that all of our whānau are well aware of this review and have an opportunity to provide input. This input could include more general feedback such as your thoughts on how well RIT is managing the post-settlement assets on behalf of Rongowhakaata and what, if any, changes could be made to help improve the management of these assets.1

The review also provides a particular opportunity to reflect on the changes that were made as part of the 2017 review of the RIT Deed, to see whether the changes are working as well as intended and suggest any further refinement.

If you would like to make a submission to amend the RST Deed, or provide more general feedback and input into the review, please address your submission to the Chair of RIT, Moera Brown and send to: by 30 June 2020.

What was the one submission received so far?

The Chair of the Kāhui Kaumātua has notified RIT that they would like to open the membership of Kāhui Kaumātua to any Rongowhakaata kaumātua that wants to be involved. Currently the Trust Deed makes provision for each marae to appoint two kaumātua only to Te Kāhui. The suggested amendment has already been incorporated (in track changes) in the updated RST Deed, for whānau to consider.

If I am interested in looking at the RST Deed and/or providing any feedback what do I need to do?

The 2014 and updated RST Deeds are available for inspection at the RIT offices, or you can request copies from the RIT office by email: or phone: 06 862 8086.

Please address any feedback or submissions for amending the RST Deed to the Chair of RIT, Moera Brown and send to: by 30 June 2020.

What happens once I have made a submission?

Your submission will be considered alongside all the other submissions and feedback received and a summary of the feedback and RIT’s response to this will be provided to whānau by August 2020.
The proposed amendments to the RST Deed will be notified by RIT in October and you will have about a month to consider and vote on a special resolution to amend the RST Deed.

A hui on the special resolution to amend the RST Deed will take place in November, at which time the voting will close.

If I have any more questions about the review or how I can input, what do I do?

For any enquiries on the review of the RST Deed or how you can have your say, please contact the RIT office by email: or phone: 06 862 8086.


1 Rongowhakaata’s post-settlement assets include Opou station, the ex-railway land site, part of the former Gisborne Abattoir site, the old police station and the Rakaukaka Scenic Reserve. Rongowhakaata also received financial redress of just over $20 million. For more information on this, please ask the RIT office for a copy of the ‘Summary of the Rongowhakaata Settlement’.