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Trust tables report for its 150th year

At its annual general meeting yesterday, Masterton Trust Lands Trust [MTLT] presented what it has touted as strong financial results that have coincided with the organisation’s 150th anniversary.

The trust’s annual report indicates it has distributed $1.5 million in grants during the 2022-23 financial year, a year-on-year increase of 35 per cent.

That growth is the result of a strategy that was adopted four years ago to “grow grants funding” that is “now bearing fruit”, according to MTLT chair Christine Brewster, with annual grants having nearly doubled since then.

“It’s a considerable investment in our community that delivers tangible benefits,” said Brewster, who added the trust was “also delighted to be able to reinstate community grants to support local non-profit organisations”.

The grants MTLT has provided in the past year have supported a range of education [$448,970], art [$121,843], civic [$25,000] and community [$176,425] initiatives, including: the Whakaoriori Wellbeing Project that fosters social competence in children and young people and is now in its third year; free books for 700 school children as part of the Inspire a Child to Read programme; alpine rescue training for Wairarapa Search and Rescue volunteers; surf lifesaving training for 5-14-year-olds at Riversdale Surf Lifesaving Club; and funding a facilitator for a Garden to Table programme at three Masterton Primary Schools where children grew edible gardens.

“Our grants programme reflects the trust’s vision that learning is life-long and contributes to community wellbeing,” Brewster said, adding that the organisation “is proud of its continuing legacy – enriching educational and cultural opportunities for the people of Masterton”.

MTLT also provided concessional rent grants in the period worth $746,413 to 17 community organisations, including Wairarapa College Farm, Masterton Foodbank, and ConArt Gallery & Studios, with Brewster noting that “while these properties don’t provide a financial return to the Trust, they deliver social, cultural, and educational dividends to our community”.

What did provide a financial return was rental income of $5.5 million [up 6 per cent] from the 90 tenants of MTLT’s Masterton properties, which currently enjoy close to 100 per cent occupancy.

Meanwhile, the trust’s total assets grew 16.2 per cent in value to $103.4 million following a revaluation of its property portfolio, and equity increased by 22 per cent to $85.3 million.

The year-end surplus [before grants] was $16.9 million [up 76 per cent].

Also mentioned as a highlight of the past year was MTLT agreeing to a 99-year ground lease with Wellington Free Ambulance [WFA] on the corner of Russell and Queen streets, which will be home to a state-of-the-art ambulance station that’s due to be completed next year.

The ground lease deal allows the land to remain in community ownership while giving WFA long-term security of tenure.

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