Annual Report 2016
Kia ora and welcome to the 2015/16 annual report for the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust.
This past year has been one of the most significant in the life and development of the Trust, capped off by grants of $10 million to local causes – one of the highest levels in the Trust’s history.
The last year has seen the conclusion of a two-year review of the Trust’s operations and how it was undertaking its business, with the ultimate goal of ensuring long-term sustainability and increasing contributions to the community over the long term.
As a result, a number of operational changes were implemented, including appointing an external fund manager and financial reporting mechanisms, along with a re-alignment of the Trust’s staffing mix.
All these changes have been focused on future-proofing the organisation, including having the right structure, people and operations in place, to ensure it is in a solid position to weather any future international economic headwinds and continues to provide financial support to the Rotorua community.
The value of this strategy has already proven its worth this year, with the Mercer-managed investment portfolio returning 4.8 per cent, while the Trust’s legacy investments (that have still to be transferred or divested), experienced negative returns for the year. While this has had an impact on our overall financial results, the Trust remains in a strong financial position.
At the end of the 2014/2015 financial year, the Trust reported an accumulated income reserve of $13.4 million – a significant achievement following the impact of the Global Financial Crisis in the preceding years. As a result, trustees made a conscious and considered decision to use some of this reserve to support the development of a range of community facilities and projects that will deliver meaningful benefits over the long-term, above and beyond the Trust’s general level of grants.
Despite the significant contribution made to these projects, the value of the Trust’s perpetual capital reserve (the main source of funding for the future) still increased by nearly $1 million – to $132.8 million.
We are extremely proud of the contribution that the Trust has been able to make on the behalf of Rotorua and its people.
One example includes providing $500,000 for the Riding for the Disabled indoor riding centre in Ngongotaha. To see the joy on people’s faces, particularly children, is a real highlight and makes the hard work that went into fundraising for the initiative all the sweeter. Congratulations to all those who were involved.
Supporting the development of the Whare Aroha Care dementia care facility, also in Ngongotaha, and assisting the groups in Community House with grants close to $100,000 to relocate and continue operating, were also important highlights.
The Trust works with many different organisations and initiatives, from all spectrums of the community, and last year provided $786,301 for the undergrounding of powerlines for the safety and beautification of the district. The Trust also provided $250,000 for the WISE Healthy Homes scheme to insulate homes and help reduce respiratory problems. The Trust has been supporting the Healthy Homes scheme since 2005 and looks forward to further development of this life-changing initiative for as long as there is a need by households.
The Trust’s annual operating cost grants totalling $521,500 are another important area of support and affect just about everyone in the community. This type of funding is something we feel is extremely important in empowering continued growth and support of our community groups.
Finally, I would personally like to thank my fellow trustees and all our dedicated staff, past and present, who have been instrumental in getting the Trust to where it is now and, most importantly, the communities and volunteers we have helped along the way.
The Trust isn’t just focused on today, but on developing a better future for our people, our children and our children’s children for many decades to come. And it is in excellent shape to continue doing that.
Grahame W Hall, QSO, JP