Another thing that separates Momentum Waikato from traditional trusts is its ability to be a direct investor, using the unmarked proceeds from the original $10m from WEL Energy Trust for projects it is passionate about. Momentum Waikato is actively investing in affordable housing, underwrote the new Waikato Regional Theatre, is seeking to initiate a new shared neurological centre here in the Waikato and, in partnership with Wise Group, is developing a wellbeing hub at the former Houchens Retreat in Glenview. Projects like these are creating a transformational difference in the Waikato.
“The Waikato Regional Theatre is a classic example of where there was a gap in the market. We had to ask: do we spend $25m renovating a tired building that performers didn’t want to even perform in? What if we took that $25m and used it as a base to grow even more investment funds for a theatre that will serve the entire Waikato region and grow the arts community and revitalise the CBD. We’re excited that we could choose the latter option as the new theatre will boost and accelerate Hamilton's cultural, social, and economic life and the Waikato region for generations to come,” said Kelvyn.
It was Momentum’s first time entering the Waikato Business Awards, and it was undoubtedly a success, being named a finalist in three categories and winning two. Kelvyn praised the process for its thoroughness and the quality of the judge's feedback his organisation received.
“It was our first time, and it was an incredible experience. It’s not something you can do within half an hour. It requires internal reflections and honest conversations as to whether our actions are aligned with our vision. The value of the process for us was extremely beneficial, and the feedback gave us valuable insights on how we were performing from an external viewpoint,” said Kelvyn.
Momentum Waikato’s unique approach to investing as a charitable organisation is one reason for its success at the 2021 Waikato Business Awards. Utilising the blend of talents and experiences in the team allows Momentum to approach its investments through a commercial viewpoint even though the social and community impact is vitally important. Combined with a focus on data-driven investing ensures that every project Momentum is involved in is a transformational one that meets the demands and needs of the community.
“We believe in impact investing, looking for projects that are actually needed by the community, according to the public information contained in the Waikato Vital Signs reports. We’re innovative and prepared to take a concessionary return to ensure our projects work for both the community and enable us to continue investing in new projects and identifying new funds with new donors,” said Kelvyn.
Kelvyn and the rest of the Momentum Waikato team are incredibly passionate about the Waikato and their part in transforming it into the best region in the country. As someone relatively new to the area, Kelvyn has been blown away by the response to his organisation and the open arms of the Waikato.
“I’ve worked in the Bay of Plenty and Auckland, but there’s something special about Hamilton. Obviously, we’re very well located strategically, but for me, the defining feature of the Waikato has been the connectedness of the people. It’s a well-networked region with a strong sense of community and a willingness to listen and work with people coming here with new ideas and visions. We’re fortunate to have a strong iwi with vision and families who have grown up in the region and are committed to putting a lot of money, time and effort back into the community. It’s a unique sense of connectedness that you can’t find everywhere. I’m very proud of our work to create a better Waikato for everyone, forever.”