Māori Winemakers Interconnected with Whenua
In New Zealand today, there are around half a dozen Māori-owned wineries, Christina Pickard writes in a story for the February/March issue of Wine Enthusiast. New Zealand Winegrowers, the national wine body, has developed a sustainable winegrowing framework for the entire industry that centres around the Māori concept of kaitiakitanga (custodianship of land and people).
“The renaissance of our language and culture has created huge opportunity for genuine Māori wine companies to tell their stories and share our culture to the world,” owner of te Pā Wines Haysley MacDonald says. “While this concept may not have resonated with hard-headed gatekeepers 20 or 30 years ago, it certainly did with the consumer and, consequently, we have seen any resistance now morph into positive enthusiasm. In fact, so much so that the number of Māori-branded wines without any Māori heritage greatly outweighs the number of Māori-owned wine brands in the market.”
For Māori winemakers, this is a source of both pride and frustration.
“For me, the fact that people are willing to consult and ask for advice before going ahead using terms or names is respectful,” says Richelle Tyney, a winemaker who works alongside Kevin Judd at Greywacke Wines. “It’s building that bridge and breaking down the barriers.”
Original article by Christina Pickard, Wine Enthusiast, March 5, 2022.
Photo by Kevin Judd.