Koau capital partners

Understanding Māori investment.

The Māori economy contains an abundance of vision and opportunity.

Koau Capital Partners Ltd is a new partnership experienced in sourcing, structuring and managing assets within the Māori commercial sector.


A new partnership

Koau’s five partners have a background of successfully working together within the Māori economy and cultural landscape.


Our Team

Wally is uniquely accomplished in his combined understanding of the private, public, iwi and community sectors.

Wally has established a sound reputation as a professional business leader demonstrating a high level of performance in the areas of corporate governance, strategic planning, tactical implementation and innovation.

Wally helped to establish the award-winning Whale Watch Kaikoura business, itself instrumental in the reinvention of Kaikoura as a tourism destination. He was founding director, then CEO and is now chairman of Whale Watch.

Wally also used to chair Tourism New Zealand and sits on the council of the Asia New Zealand foundation. Wally is a former Chair of Ngāi Tahu Holdings Corporation and now sits on Te Rūnanga, Ngāi Tahu’s tribal parliament, as representative for the Rapaki runanga near Lyttleton.

Wally was invited to become a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Management in 2003 and in 2004 was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Andrew has an investment background and worked extensively within iwi organsiations.

Andrew worked for the Ngai Tahu Group for six years. Most recently he was Chief Operating Officer of Ngāi Tahu Holdings Corporation (NTHC), a diversified investment company with assets over $600m across the property, tourism, rural, healthcare and seafood industries.

Andrew’s earlier background includes work in Asia, Mexico and London for Halliburton, culminating in the role of Global Proposals Manager. He began his career as a chartered accountant with PriceWaterhouse Coopers.

Andrew has experience and skills in capital allocation, mergers and acquisitions, capital structuring and asset performance management.

Alex has worked in corporate finance and investment in China and within Māori business.

Alex started his finance career in China, undertaking strategic and transactional advisory work for a range of foreign companies across the agriculture and food products, technology, energy, manufacturing and services sectors.

Prior to Koau, Alex worked as an investment analyst at Ngāi Tahu Holdings Corporation. 

Alex brings knowledge of a major New Zealand primary products market and strategic and analytical ability. Alex has an MA from Cambridge University and additionally studied at the University of Provence and Mandarin at Qinghua University, Beijing.

Richard has spent most of his professional career in executive roles within Māori owned operational and investment sectors.

Richard has a finance and accounting background and worked for Ngai Tahu Seafood for nearly a decade before taking up the role of Group Investment Manager at Ngāi Tahu Holdings Corporation in 2005, gaining responsibility for oversight of the performance of all Ngāi Tahu commercial investments as well as analysis of new business opportunities.

He returned to Ngāi Tahu Seafood as chief executive in 2008 and led a range of business improvement initiatives. In extremely tough economic conditions, NTS posted a record operating EBIT in FY09 followed up by a record half year result for FY10, prior to Richard leaving and joining Koau.

Richard is well respected within Māori business for his strategic as well as analytical strengths and attention to detail. He brings thorough knowledge and extensive relationships across the seafood industry and its markets to Koau. Richard's experience enables him to apply robust governance and investment disciplines in complicated stakeholder environments.

Mark is a professional director with significant experience in the infrastructure sector.

Mark holds a number of directorships with listed and unlisted companies in New Zealand and Australia, including the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, Infratil, New Zealand Oil and Gas board and New Zealand Refining Company. He was previously on the board of Transpower.

Mark also has experience in the Māori commercial arena including previous appointments as managing director of Lake Taupo Capital, and director of Ngai Tahu Holdings Corporation.

Mark has had a 20-year career working in the New Zealand banking and funds management industries, and is a former president of the NZ Financial Markets Association. He was previously Head of Funds Management at the Bank of New Zealand and has held a number of senior roles within the finance industry specialising in investment, asset and liability management, capital markets and risk.

Sandra has had a varied career in administration and events management at the top of some of New Zealand’s leading iwi, business and professional sports organisations.

Sandra was Executive Assistant to the Chief Operating Officer and board of Ngāi Tahu Holdings Corporation (NTHC) 2008-09. She was responsible for information management and communication flows in a complex and demanding stakeholder environment.
Prior to this Sandra had a long career with New Zealand cricket. For almost ten years Sandra was office and match manager at New Zealand Cricket’s high performance centre at Lincoln University. In this role Sandra provided support to high performance staff, coaches and players. She went on to tour with the Black Caps between 2003 and 2010.
Sandra returned briefly to Cricket post-NTHC, and before joining Koau, specifically to help manage the ICC U19 World Cup taking place at Lincoln.
Sandra also previously worked for Crane Group/MasterTrade as National Contracts Administrator.
Despite tough competition, by virtue of her professional experience Sandra qualifies as Koau’s most accomplished sportsperson.

Next: Our Services


Targeted, specialised services

The Māori economy presents financial challenges for investment and management that are unlike any other. Our services are tailor-made for this unique environment.


Our Services

Koau Capital Partners focuses effective investment, governance and management in a Maori commercial environment.

Investment management

Providing on-contract investment management services to Maori institutions including investment strategy, corporate capacity development and governance advisory and support.

Collective solutions and transactional advisory

Developing solutions and strategies for Maori institutions or groupings in areas of common commercial focus such as statutory right management (e.g. deferred settlement and right of first refusal), infrastructure, primary sector development and private equity. 

Sourcing capital

Combining capital and disciplines from aligned, long-term, third party investors with Maori economic opportunities through co-investment

Governance and management advisory

Delivering commercially focused strategic advisory services to government or Maori sector bodies where Koau Capital Partners can encourage the development of global governance and capital management solutions

Investment strategy

Advising on asset portfolio management and capital allocation across those sectors where Maori institutions have direct and active investments

Next: Māori Innovation


Early Māori innovators and investors

Māori were historically entrepreneurial and rapidly adapted their skill and instincts to the developing market economy.


Māori Innovation

Deliberate, large scale trading between Māori communities and European vessels was common place at all New Zealand ports from the early 19th century.

It was not long before Māori owned their own ships and several thousand acres were planted in western crops such as potato and wheat.  But once the colony’s major cities became established the rate of change increased and the quantity of land available to Māori declined.  By this time though many Māori were already familiar with the notion of capital investment and had the vision to see growth potential.

On 6 January 1860, Canterbury Māori leaders met with then colonial governor, Gore Browne, at Port Lyttleton to discuss their vision for developing the local economy. They were concerned that they did not have a market place or critical infrastructure and used the metaphor of a koau to explain their position:

“We are like unto a koau sitting on a rock. The tide rises, it flows over the rock, and the bird is compelled to fly. We require a dry resting place for us that we may prosper.”

They respectfully appealed to the Governor for assistance to erect a flour mill at Port Levy. Having already spent nearly £400 to purchase all the necessary machinery, they did not have the expertise or the capital to build the mill and requested a specialist millwright to manage the work and capital to complete it, which they would repay once the income from the mill was sufficient.
The mill was a great success and to this day Māori have strong relationships with central and local government, a deep commitment to New Zealand’s future economic strength and opportunities for access to many of New Zealand’s key assets classes.

Next: The Koau


The symbol that guides us.

The Koau is a native bird admired for its dedicated flight towards its goal.


The Koau

The Koau was often likened to both successful warriors and resilient travellers and explorers. It was admired for the strength of its unswerving flight

"We are like unto a koau sitting on a rock."

Like early Canterbury Māori searching for productivity enhancing investment, our economic aspirations are captured by the acquatic bird, the Koau (pronounced kor-oh) - admired in Māori lore for its strength, determination and unswerving flight.

For us the Koau represents strong vision, determination to succeed and an absolute focus on our purpose – which is to provide unique investment and asset management solutions that create value in a dynamic, progressive Māori economy.



Koau welcome any questions or enquiries. Please contact any member of the team on email handle christian name at koau.co.nz

Head Office

33 Birmingham Dr

Christchurch 8024




L1, The Old Steamship Building

57 Customhouse Quay


Photo of sculpture suspended above the Arts Centre