About the Trust

Central Lakes Trust (CLT) is a charitable trust that grant's funds for charitable purposes within the Central Lakes district. The district comprises the area bestowed by its original benefactor; Otago Central Electric Power Trust, throughout parts of both Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes. > Learn more about our history

The trust is the largest philanthropic trust per capita in the Southern Hemisphere. Its purpose is to ensure it can be available over time to help support charitable projects throughout Central Lakes; to enhance the community and the lives of the people within.

Since inception in November 2000 the trust has grown its asset base from the $155m bestowed by the Otago Central Electric Power Trust to assets totalling $388m. 


The trust is the proud owner of Pioneer Energy, which comprises approximately 40% of its assets, while the remainder is made up of a diversified portfolio of investments including a range of national and international investments, in three asset classes:

  • Growth assets (Australian shares, global shares, property and private equity);

  • Alternative assets (primarily global infrastructure investments);

  • Income assets (NZ bonds, cash and housing bonds);

together valued at $226m at the 31 March 2018.

We have distributed more than $99m in grants into a wide range of community projects and services throughout the Central Lakes area.

As a Charitable Trust, unlike community trusts, the Trust can only fund organisations who are registered with Charities Services, Educational providers, Regional and Territorial Authorities, and the programme or project must have a charitable purpose. The extent of community benefit determines the funding level.