Haumi matatika me TAHITO
Written: 23 06 2022
Author: Kirsty O’Hara
5 min read
Haumi matatika me TAHITO
(Investing ethically with TAHITO)
A spirit of Kaitiakitanga infuses TAHITO investments.
To celebrate Matariki, it seemed only appropriate to shine a bright starry spotlight onto the first investment fund that integrates Te Ao Māori principles.
Marking the end of the Māori New Year Matariki holds obvious significance in New Zealand. Historically, Tohunga looked to Matariki to predict if the next harvest might be abundant. The theory went that the clearer the stars of this Māori New Year – then the more fruitful the harvest was likely to be.
If you’re anything like the Flint team, you are possibly wondering how a Te Ao Māori inspired investment ethos plays out; and may be curious about investing in funds that celebrate a conscience kaupapa.
TAHITO launched in 2019, into an increasingly popular ethical landscape. The Te Ao Māori and indigenous philosophy is a key point of difference for TAHITO (who have strategically partnered with Clarity Funds Management; part of Investment Services Group (ISG)).
Co-founder Temuera Hall comments:
“As awareness in climate change and sustainability intensiﬁes, the world is increasingly looking toward indigenous cultures, values and sustainability practices for solutions. We believe TAHITO to be a world-first in using indigenous knowledge to provide these solutions within the context of financial services”.
As people look for more than just financial returns, co-founder Hall highlights investors are now looking for companies and funds who not only avoid harm to the environment and people, but also ‘do good’ as well. No longer are investments measured purely in financial gain.
As a kaiarataki (leader) of conversations in New Zealand, Hall asks: "How do you switch to a view where you put the environment before people, and people before profit, and the collective before the individual? That's my basic explanation of a Māori worldview."
Hall champions the perspective that with consumers and investors becoming more aware of climate concerns this “opens up the ability for us to bring an indigenous worldview. The world is looking for a behaviour change, it's looking for a different worldview because the current one is exploitative and we're seeing the result of it.”
Hall further comments:
“Our point of difference is that we are applying indigenous wisdom as the lens through which these companies are identified. In our view, the fund is suitable for investors who want their investment funds aligned to a high level of values and principles and would like to see their capital applied ethically in investments with positive social and environmental purposes.” – Temuera Hall
Mindful Money comments that ‘this is a hugely important step forward, building in long term thinking, stewardship and a holistic approach to investment’. Hall acknowledges that recognition by Mindful Money, as an ethical and responsible fund, is a big step for TAHITO.
Whakamānawa (Honours & Awards)
TAHITO is whakaihiihi (excited) to be a finalist in the ‘Best Retail Ethical Investment Provider’ category of the 2022 Mindful Money awards.
This status as a finalist acknowledges the strides TAHITO are making to deepen ethical practices by investing in companies that can have a positive impact.
With New Zealand retail investment products amounting to near $70 billion (invested in around 425 funds from around 50 providers) it’s easy to see why Mindful Money take time to honour funds like TAHITO who not only provide investment opportunities, but also Kaitiakitanga (principals of guardianship).
Hall explains: “Our TAHITO Te Tai o Rehua Fund starts to come into its own as investment consciousness increases and investors request more transparency and accountability on where and how their funds are invested. We have set a high sustainable and ethical bar premised upon our indigenous Māori values. Our challenge is to maintain and improve this standard.”
Te Whakahou (Regenerative ) Framework
TAHITO introduces a new ancestral approach to how it measures relational behaviours (whanaungatanga) and connectivity (aroha), with the belief that these factors impact how a business improves its mauri (wellbeing).
A guiding saying at TAHITO is: Mauri o te Aroha, ora o te Aroha, Mauriora.
This translates as ‘Mauri is life force, aroha is connection, aroha feeds mauri, life force is fed by connection’.
TAHITO measures connectivity with the theory that the more you are connected, the more you will care about the environment and the communities you are in. TAHITO effectively measures the transition of companies from ‘substantive’, internally focused behaviours, to ideal indigenous ‘relational’, externally connected, collective behaviours.
Māori have strong spiritual bonds to the land, Papatūānuku, the Earth Mother. She provides unity and identity to her people and sustains them. TAHITO believe it is important that we collectively protect our land and water from erosion, deforestation, and inappropriate land use.
Hall comments that:
"Anything that pokes a hole in Ranginui and rips into Papatūānuku we're going to struggle with that. That's your mining sectors and fossil fuels. We are 100 per cent fossil-fuel-free, hence we got that Mindful Money fossil-fuel-free badge and we cut out weapons”.
He goes on to say that the companies that TAHITO seeks to endorse and hold “are the best we can find across a number of different factors including mana whakahaere (governance), te taiao (environment) and te pāpori (social)”.
As well as assessing companies under consideration through a unique Māori ethical framework, TAHITO also assesses these companies from a financial and valuation perspective and ensures adequate diversification across sectors. They are also upfront and honest about valuing women in leadership, equity and diversity and exclude businesses that don’t meet their criteria.
Ō Nui (Values)
Hall comments that “At its core, the fund’s investment philosophy is about identifying companies that are successfully navigating a rapidly changing world while ensuring that the benefits of this change are widely shared across communities”.
To implement their philosophy TAHITO told Investment News that they implement MSCI research, to identify overweight stocks such as Nextdc and Dexus; and this allows them to steer clear of companies owning fossil fuels.
TAHITO speak openly about their guiding principles they wish to be known for:
Tāwhirimātea: Cultural and commercial integrity
Tāne: Sustainable, ethical and regenerative behaviours
Rongo: Performance and innovation
Atua: Good people doing great things
Hall speaks openly to Te Ao Maori news, saying that with these guiding principles it’s "our mandate [to hold] 20-30 companies - if we had to lift that to 50 companies we would struggle, and that's across Australasia." Of the 400 companies available to invest in across the ASX and NZX, Hall comments that “the number is reduced to approximately 70 companies once the TAHITO ethical overlay is applied. Only then is a financial analysis of potential companies undertaken”. It is a key point of difference within the investment industry to see this focus on environment before people before profit model which TAHITO encompasses.
"They have to pass all the non-financial measures first before we then assess them for their financial valuation, where most people don't have that strength of conviction." – Temuera Hall
To unpack why certain companies were selected TAHITO acknowledges:
Meridian show a commitment to KidsCan, Rainbow Tick, Zero 2025 Carbon, Te Rūnanga o Ngai Tahu, Sustainable Development Goals, Power Up Meridian Empowering Communities, Greenhouse Gas Protocol, and Carbon Zero.
Kathmandu made the cut due to its involvement with: the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation, Fair Labour Association, Himalayan Trust and as a Certified B Corporation balancing purpose and profit.
Support of Kia Kaha Te Reo Māori is one of the reasons Spark is in the fund, along with its involvement with the Spark Foundation.
And in the eldercare sector, Summerset was the top pick when investing in elderly care with strong community engagement (over Ryman or Oceania)
Companies such as Brambles were acknowledged for their tautoko of The Global Food Banking Network, Sustainable Development Goals, Barron's 100 Most Sustainable Companies, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and CDP (the non-profit global environmental disclosure platform).
Full information on the funds holdings can be found at Sorted. These are published every 6 months.
When looking at each company a scoring metric always considers: te taiao [environment], hapori [social], mana whakahaere [governance], commitment to climate change, environmental pillars, human capital, development and corporate governance themes are always applied ahead of korerorero (conversations).
TAHITO feels their method “is a timely contribution to the momentum created by the global initiatives from the United Nations and the World Economic Forum. These institutions have created the platform for indigenous values to be a solution to global challenges.”
Toitū Enviromark Gold Certification
TAHITO’s partner and parent company - Investment Services Group (ISG) - has been awarded Toitū Enviromark Gold Certification. This achievement recognises the significant steps TAHITO has taken to ensure they have a robust environmental management plan in place.
How TAHITO does business:
TAHITO explains that “The base Māori ethic states that people, sky, land, ocean and environment are one. Whakapapa genealogy enshrines this understanding. It brings all your connections to you as part of your family.”
Māori ethics puts the environment and people first, as both are essential to living and thriving. This ethos stems from the ancestral Māori worldview which celebrates connection and the interdependence of all living things.
Te Kōwhiringa Tapu (or Careful Selection) investment guidelines measure companies; combining Māori ancestral knowledge with sophisticated environmental, social and governance (ESG) data capture technology and strong financial analysis. In applying this investment approach, TAHITO endeavours to select Australasian companies that best display collective and relational ethics and behaviours derived from indigenous Māori culture and ancestry.
The TAHITO Te Tai ō Rehua Fund is managed in partnership with Clarity Funds Management, with TAHITO Limited as the investment adviser. Investment Services Group (the parent company to Clarity Funds, Devon Funds and TAHITO Limited) holding over $5 billion in client funds under management, we can see why investors feel they are in capable hands.
How does TAHITO work?
Ka kohia ngā reka e Te Kawa Tahito.
Ka hangaia te pūtea haumi ki ngā tikanga o
Te Kawa Tahito.
Ka hautūtia ki tōna taumata.
TAHITO explain: ‘We have applied Māori ancestral knowledge to select what we believe to be the best companies (focusing initially on companies listed in Australia and New Zealand). We then apply stringent ﬁnancial, valuation and portfolio construction knowledge to develop the investment portfolio. We have institutional grade operational and compliance systems to administer and manage the fund.’
Who is Tahito for:
Ma Te hunga
1. E aroha ana ki Te Kawa Tahito.
2. E aroha ana ki te mauri o Te Kawa Tahito.
3. E aroha ana ki te te mauri o te ao.
Mā ngā tikanga o Te Kawa Tahito ngā reka e kohi.
Mā Te Kawa Tahito ka ora. Kei Te Kawa Tahito o Ranginui rāua ko Papatūānuku te mauri o te ao.
TAHITO tells us they are for investors who: ‘Would like their investment funds aligned to a high level of values and principles; Would like their investment to be sustainably managed ; and would like to see their capital applied ethically in investments with positive social and environmental purposes’.
Te Mutunga Iho (Final Thoughts)
Hall shares whakaihiihi (excitement) with Te Ao Maori News that: “Our TAHITO Te Tai o Rehua Fund starts to come into its own as investment consciousness increases and investors request more transparency and accountability on where and how their funds are invested.”
TAHITO continue to be inspired by the FMA’s words of wisdom that “having sufficient funds for a comfortable retirement is a crucial aspect of growing the wealth and wellbeing of whanau. Saving early allows money to grow which will play an important role in you and your whanau’s future.”
At the end of the day, the Flint whānau sincerely believe that preparing for whānau and retirement is what investing is all about. We encourage all New Zealanders to respect the value they can add to the lives of others, by taking the time to learn about investing, and where possible, do so in the spirit of Kaitiakitanga (guardianship).
If this is something you are curious to tautoko (support) then head on over to Flint to read the PDS and check out the TAHITO fund in more detail.
Happy investing & Happy Matariki!
IMPORTANT NOTICE AND DISCLAIMER:
All content shared is of a general nature, current to the time it was penned, and is not financial advice. Before making any investment decisions, please be sure you have completed full due diligence. This should include reading the product disclosure statement (PDS), considering fees and taxation, identifying your time horizons, and understanding the performance history and reputation of the investments you are considering.
Please note: When investing you are not guaranteed to make money (and on occasion you may lose some or all of the money you began with). Seek independent advice to establish if an investment is suitable for your financial situation and long-term wealth generation goals.
NZ Herald, TAHITO, TAHITO-About-Us, TAHITO-indigenous-investing, TAHITO-business-hub, Mindful Money-tahito, Mindful Money Finalists, TAHITO-fossil-fuels, Mindful Money Press Release, Mindful Money Ethical Investing, FMA, teaomaori.news, Investment News, Scoop, Mindful Money-Digital-Advisor, Temuera Hall, Good Returns, Maori Dictionary, Te Papa.