Whai Rawa has been in operation since June 2006. The Scheme has been set up to operate for the benefit of members and aims to build the wealth of Ngāi Tahu Whānui by encouraging and assisting savings for tertiary education, home purchase and retirement.

The main regulator of Whai Rawa in New Zealand is the Financial Markets Authority. Like KiwiSaver schemes, we’re required to have a current Product Disclosure Statement available free to members and prospective members at all times - contact us for a hard copy. The Product Disclosure Statement lays out the key details of how Whai Rawa works.

Following the Ngāi Tahu Claim Settlement Act on the 29th September 1998, Ngāi Tahu received cultural redress in the form of confirmation of the ability for Ngāi Tahu to express its traditional kaitiaki relationship with the environment, tribal redress, an apology from the Crown, acknowledgement of the role of their taonga Aoraki and economic redress in the form of a payment of $170 million plus the ability to purchase property from the Crown.

This financial acknowledgement has allowed the tribe to establish itself as an economic powerhouse within the South Island. Today, Ngāi Tahu has interests in fishing, tourism, property as well as a diversified equities portfolio, all of which are managed through Ngāi Tahu Holdings Corporation Limited. This financial security enables the tribe to deliver social benefits back to iwi members through The Office of Te Rūnanga (TRoNT).

Whai Rawa Fund Limited (WRFL), a limited liability company, was appointed by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Limited through The Office of Te Rūnanga to manage the Whai Rawa Unit Trust.

Established in 2006, the Whai Rawa Unit Trust is a unit trust set up to build the wealth of Ngāi Tahu individuals by encouraging savings through:

  • Encouraging and assisting Ngāi Tahu Whānui to increase their financial management skills through the promotion of saving and education; and
  • Establishing an individual lifetime savings account that encourages members to save and allows them to receive distributions from The Office of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu; and
  • Facilitating the growth of assets that are fundamental to the welfare of Ngāi Tahu individuals, families and communities by allowing the savings to be used for tertiary education, home ownership or superannuation; and
  • Providing a best of class savings investment vehicle into which Ngāi Tahu Whānui save.

The WRFL Board are independent of Te Rūnanga. The Board who meet up to 10 times a year is made up of four directors who each bring different expert advice and experience from the financial services industry.

All of the administration, investment and supervisory functions of WRFL are outsourced.

In 2020 Whai Rawa was pleased to announce the expansion of member’s investment options to include a balanced and a growth fund as part of an Investor Choice development in the scheme. While previously only one fund option was available (a Conservative option) your Whai Rawa funds are now able to be invested in the Mercer Investment Trusts New Zealand’s Socially Responsible Conservative, Balanced and Growth Portfolios.

The three fund options are:


The return on investment allocated by WRFL to members each year is likely to vary and even produce a negative return so WRFL does not guarantee the performance of returns generated by the Whai Rawa Unit Trust.

Anyone who is registered with Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, and who resides in New Zealand or Australia can join the Whai Rawa Unit Trust. The whakapapa enrolment process as it exists today began evolving in the mid 1960s. The main information required, beside personal details, are whakapapa connections and the name(s) of the original 1848 Kaumātua and their corresponding census number(s).

Manager of the Scheme

Whai Rawa Fund Limited

The current Manager of the Scheme, who is also responsible under the FMCA for managing the Scheme, is Whai Rawa Fund Limited. We can be contacted at:

Whai Rawa Fund Limited
Te Whare o Te Waipounamu
15 Show Place

PO Box 13046
Christchurch 8024

Telephone 0800 942 472
Fax (03) 341 6792
Email [email protected]

Our Australian address for service is:

Colin Biggers & Paisley
Level 23
181 William Street
Melbourne, Victoria 3000

Other Involved Parties

Manager of the Whai Rawa Unit Trust; Whai Rawa Fund Limited. Monitors the performance and strategic alignment of the Whai Rawa Unit Trust.

Scheme sponsor and contracted operational resource provider; Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu

Supervisor; Trustees Executors Limited: Supervises the Manager of the Scheme.

Custodian; Trustees Executors Limited: Holds the Scheme’s assets in its capacity as custodian of the Scheme.

Administration Manager; Mercer (N.Z.) Limited: Provides administration functions.

Fund Manager; Mercer (N.Z.) Limited: Manages the underlying fund in which the Scheme invests.