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ECT now Trust Tairawhiti

Eastland Community Trust has been “put to sleep” during an official renaming ceremony.

ECT, which owns Eastland Group and also operates Activate Tairawhiti, will now be called Trust Tairawhiti.

Speaking at the brand launch at The Works last night, trust chairman Dr Paul Reynolds said the launch marked the end of a “journey of transformation” from the formation of Eastland Energy Community Trust in 1993.

“Throughout that time, past trustees and staff have worked tirelessly to make the trust what it is today and create the opportunities now in front of us — to make a meaningful impact on regional wellbeing.”

Dr Reynolds said it was important the community knew with “absolute clarity” who the trust was and how it could support them.

“With the creation of Activate Tairawhiti in 2015 to help drive economic development and tourism opportunities in the Tairawhiti region, we inadvertently created more confusion, making it harder for us to reach all the people in our communities.

“This journey is an opportunity to bring together our community trust and economic development agency to deliver greater wellbeing for Tairawhiti communities, businesses, tourism and indeed the future of our entire region.”

The trust owns energy, infrastructure and logistics company Eastland Group and Dr Reynolds said the group, which operates Eastland Network, Eastland Port, Gisborne Airport and two geothermal power plants, would remain the “engine room” of the trust.

Eastland Group’s investments to-date would allow the trust to invest $100m more into regional well-being by 2025.

Over the year, the trust made record distributions of $10.6m to 103 community groups. It also continued to invest into the Prime Wood Cluster Centre of Excellence, which comprised the Far East sawmilling operation and an optimised engineered lumber plant, run through a joint venture with Wood Engineering Technologies (WET), called WET Gisborne Ltd (WGL).

Chief executive Gavin Murphy said last night’s brand launch was a “special day”.

“Tonight marks the end of a collaborative journey that began late last year. Since then we’ve had a significant number of wananga/workshops and talked to many people from across the communities.

“There are now many elements within our organisation, under a regional wellbeing approach.

“We’ve evolved to become much more than a traditional community trust.”

‘Beautiful brand’ that reflects wellbeing pathwayMr Murphy said the ECT brand no longer communicated what the trust stood for.

It was also important for communities across the region to “see themselves” in the work of Trust Tairawhiti.

The trust’s new logo was unveilled last night by Dr Derek Lardelli from Lardelli Arts, with a whaikorero to give mana and respect to the previous brand and those who had worked under that banner, in front of a crowd of iwi and community representatives.

Brand agency Woods Creative had a team of eight people working on the project over a 12 month period.

Agency director Reuben Woods said that involved workshops with the community, as well as engaging with community organisations and iwi.

That work led into the creation of the new name, along with a new story.

“We then engaged with Derek to co-design that collaboratively together."

The Trust Tairawhiti website, built by Woods Creative would be online later today.

Mr Murphy said the cost of the project was not finalised, as it was still ongoing, but it was under the budgets set with Gisborne District Council in the trust’s Statement of Intent.

The name on the trust’s deed would be changed to include the new name, through a process with GDC and finalised at the trust’s next meeting.

Gisborne Mayor Rehette Stoltz said Trust Tairawhiti was a “beautiful brand” that reflected the wellbeing pathway the trust had taken.

“I love the fact that the trust has embraced the wellbeings of our community and it’s not just economically focused. So, I love the fact they have, over the last year, done work to align with other community wellbeings — social, cultural wellbeings as well.”

Mrs Stoltz confirmed she would not take up the Mayor’s seat on the trust board.

“So my plan is — for the next few months, until the end of the year — to look at the group of councillors we have. Like I said in the election, my intention is to lead the council strategically and financially, and appoint a councillor to carry the GDC voice (on the trust), and that’s still my intention.”

Eastland group chief executive Matt Todd said there would be no changes to the company structure or staffing levels.

“I think one of the secrets to success for the Eastland Group has always been a really supportive shareholder, and that they understand and have a vision for this community.

“So, the part Eastland Group can play in realising that vision is something we’re incredibly proud to be a part of. I think the new brand symbolises in a better way, what they are, and what they want to achieve — and we want to be a part of it.”

The Eastland Energy Community Trust was created on May 7, 1993 and it has a deed of trust as its governing document. Its name was changed to Eastland Community Trust on December 6, 2004.

Gavin Murphy. File picture by Strike Photography