The Chatham Islands Enterprise Trust has formalized and adopted the following philosophy:
(i) Management of the Trust:
- To administer the trust's capital and assets prudently as an endowment fund held on trust for the people of the Chatham Islands.
- To adopt policies, use consultants, and build enterprises which are appropriate to the small scale of the Chatham's economy.
- To take a long term view in planning, including the acceptance of business trading losses in the initial years where longer term viability is reasonably assured.
- To maintain the Head Office of the Trading Enterprise in the Chatham Islands and to operate its business using Chatham Islands resources to manage and staff the Enterprise where possible.
- To avoid investments in or guarantees to persons or businesses on mainland New Zealand undertaking a commercial service to the Chatham Islands.
- To recognize that a viable and growing fishing economy, a sustainable farming economy, and an effective local government council are pre-requisites to the success and commercial viability of the Trading Enterprise.
(ii) Relationships with the Chatham's Community:
- To cooperate with the Chatham's community on each matter of responsibility.
- To lead Chatham Islands initiatives through information and public policy seminars.
- Consistent with commercial confidentiality, to maintain a policy of "open information" on the Trading Enterprise's activities.
- Where there is radical change, to provide for support and advice to islanders as part of the implementation of that change.
- To encourage and recognize individual enterprise through the annual Enterprise Awards.
- To act as advocate for the economic interests of the Chatham Islands, both in business and to Government in New Zealand.
(ii) Business Activities of the Trust:
- Not to compete in any area of commercial activity where a competitive and fairly priced service is provided by private entrepreneurs unless deemed to be in the best interest of the community.
- To Structure each enterprise, as nearly as possible, on a fully commercial basis, with any subsidy or other support provided clearly and separately where possible.
- To separate each business enterprise into a distinct trading corporation, so that its activities, capital, revenue, and risk are separate from the principal capital sum of the endowment trust.
- Where possible, to structure each business enterprise in a way which permits individual Islanders to provide services within it as independent contractors.
- To manage a portfolio of Chatham Island Quota with the objective of maintaining and developing the Chatham's fishery.
(iii) Charitable Role of the Trust:
- To encourage the development of Island skills through education grants.