Pathway along Kirikirioa Paa and the Waikato River adjacent to the Trust Waikato office featuring the pou carving of Hoera
Pathway along Kirikirioa Paa and the Waikato River adjacent to the Trust Waikato office featuring the pou carving of Hoera
About Us / Our History

Our History

Crowd of people along the Waikato river bank on a foggy morning
Image courtesy of Turangawaewae Trust Board

'Anga whakamuri, anga whakamua’

‘Anga whakamuri, anga whakamua’ is a whakataukii gifted to the Trust from our kaumaatua, Tame Pokaia. It acknowledges the past and embraces the future.

Trust Waikato draws wisdom from the past to help shape a meaningful future. We place emphasis on the importance of knowing, understanding, and learning about our history, ancestors, and cultural heritage, while also looking ahead. Anga whakamuri, anga whakamua encourages a balanced approach that combines traditional wisdom with further innovation and forward thinking.

Teenagers walking in a line through the bush
Image courtesy of POET


Our rich journey begins well before the creation of Trust Waikato in 1988, and even before the establishment of the community saving banks in the 1950’s. We journey back to pre-1800’s and pay homage to tupuna awa, tupuna whenua, and tangata whenua.

Our waiata, Te Puna o Waikato, was gifted to us by Herewini and Renee Moana in 2021:

Ko te waka ko Tainui - Tainui is the waka
E rere Waikato awa e - Waikato river flow
Ko te iwi ko Waikato - Waikato is the tribe
Te Puna o Waikato e - Trust Waikato
Ko Te Puna o Waikato - We are Trust Waikato
E mahi nei i ngaa mahi - Serving our communities
Ki a tupu, ki a hua - To grow, and to flourish
Ngaa iwi whaanui e

The waiata references the Tainui waka which voyaged to New Zealand approximately 800 years ago and established the boundaries of the territory claimed by Tainui that is still recognised by all other tribes today.

It also signifies the Waikato River’s importance, seen as being part of the bloodline of the people, with the history of the people being interconnected with the river.

Wairere means flowing water, and Ngaati Wairere is the tribe who lived upon the lands of what is now Kirikiriroa (Hamilton City) since the mid to late 16th century until their land was confiscated by the Crown after the 1863 Land Wars.

An old black and white photo of a Trust Bank branch

Community Trusts

In 1988, the Government established 12 independent Community Trusts throughout New Zealand, and ownership of the 12 banks was given to the communities, each with 100 per cent ownership of the shareholding in their regional trustee savings bank.

The specified area of operations of each of the 12 Trusts mirrors the area serviced by their regional savings bank, covering the whole of New Zealand. Several of the regional banks amalgamated, resulting in the establishment of Trust Bank New Zealand Ltd. By April 1996, most of the community trusts sold their respective bank shareholdings to Westpac Banking Corporation.

Trust Bank air ambulance helicopter from 1978

Trust Waikato - Te Puna o Waikato

Prior to Trust Bank Waikato Community Trust being fully established in 1988, the Waikato Savings Bank (eventually known as Trust Bank Waikato) made grants to the community. In the period from 1959 to 1988, the bank donated just over $2 million to Waikato community groups.

By 1989, Trust Bank Waikato Community Trust’s assets were valued at $21.3 million. Through prudent and wise investment, the capital fund has continued to grow significantly. A portion of the profits each year have been granted to community groups and projects throughout the Waikato region.

In 1997, the Trust rebranded and became known as ‘The Waikato Community Trust’. However, despite the name change, there was still a lot of confusion in the community about the Trust and its relationship with the bank. In September 1999, a further rebranding occurred where the Trust became known as ‘Trust Waikato – Te Puna o Waikato’, while keeping its legal name, ‘The Waikato Community Trust’.

Trust House building with a big heritage tree from the gardens

Trust House and Cottage

The Trust decided to purchase the historic property that became known as Trust House at 2 London Street, Hamilton in 1998 after renting numerous office spaces in the Hamilton central business district. Built in 1914 for Eugene (Tim) and Gwendoline Rogers, this family home was where they raised their three children: Anthony (Rufus), Patricia, and Denis (Mick). A general practitioner, Eugene Rogers’ medical rooms were located next door at 6 Little London Lane. His sons Anthony and Denis also worked in their father’s practice for many years. Anthony was an MP for Hamilton East from 1972-1975, and later served as a Waikato Savings Bank/Trust Bank Waikato trustee (as did Denis) and was a foundation trustee for Trust Waikato. Denis served as Mayor of Hamilton from 1959 to 1968.

The following year, in 1999, the Trust purchased Trust Cottage at 4 Little London Lane. Originally built as an art studio for Gwendoline Rogers, Denis Rogers eventually moved into the studio with his family and numerous extensions were carried out. The home was later sold to the McGregor family and became known as McGregor House. The Trust also purchased the land between Trust House and Trust Cottage, which was developed into gardens for the community to enjoy. We acknowledge the properties and adjoining gardens are all sited on what was once Ngaati Wairere’s Kirikiriroa Paa.

Cover the book, "Treasures of the Waikato: The Trust Waikato Art and Taonga Collection" featuring part of the piece, Kaumatua: by Joan Fear.

Art and Taonga Collection

Trust Waikato began collecting art and taonga of significance to the Waikato region in 1999. In October 2015, the collection of 260 pieces was gifted to the Waikato Museum. 

The book, Treasures of the Waikato, includes all the art and taonga in the Trust Waikato collection as at 2015. The Trust continues to support the museum to grow the collection.

The Trust Waikato office and gardens

Purpose-built Community Building

Having outgrown Trust House and Trust Cottage by the mid 2010’s, a building project began in 2017 for a purpose-built, two-story community facility at 4 Little London Lane. The building includes purpose-built meeting rooms on the ground floor. Many cultural elements have been weaved into the whare, guided by our kaumaatua, Tame Pokaia.

Opened in 2018, the building and its community spaces have become a hive of activity for hundreds of community groups and organisations facilitating greater connections and helping to realise our vision for vibrant and resilient communities. Trust House is now home to two regional community organisations.

Get to know our Trust Waikato whaanau

Trust Waikato employs nine staff, all specialists in their area of accountability, working together as a team to support community aspirations. ​