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TUKU Māori Winemakers Collective celebrates five years since launch

  • by Mikela Dennison

Collective to welcome new members, reaching out to global indigenous winemakers, and wines to star in ‘Tohunga Tūmau’ dinner-

TUKU, the world’s first collective of indigenous Māori wine producers, of which te Pa is a founding member, will celebrate five years since its launch on July 11th.

Made up of award-winning wineries from across Aotearoa-New Zealand, representing the best of the country’s wine regions, TUKU has gone from strength to strength since its official launch at a moving ceremony at the Air New Zealand customer innovation and collaboration centre in Tāmaki-Makaurau Auckland in 2018.

Founding members Steve Bird (Steve Bird Wines), Hayden Johnston (Kuru Kuru & Tarras Wines), Haysley MacDonald (te Pā Family Vineyards), and Royce McKean (Tiki Wines & Vineyards), are all exporting their wines across the world, with domestic presence as well, and have created a platform through TUKU to tell the stories and significance of indigenous Māori wine producers on the world stage.

Highlights of the last five years

Highlights of the Collective’s journey so far include having wines featured in the Air New Zealand staff Christmas hampers, supplying wines for high profile events such as the Tohunga Tūmau Matariki dinner, the Creation Dinner series, and the Matihiko Awards, as well as securing valuable high profile media coverage in key publications such as Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Jancis Robinson, Harper’s Wine & Spirits, BBC Travel, and Singapore Airlines’ ‘KrisWorld’ magazine.

The Collective members have also provided consultation and insight into high level Government strategy and global agreements like the Free Trade Agreement with the UK, and He Kai Kei Aku Ringa: The Crown-Māori Economic Growth Partnership Strategy.

TUKU welcomes new members & reaches out to international indigenous winemaking community

On the eve of its five-year anniversary, TUKU is now heralding inquiries from potential new members, which marks the next stage of its journey. The Collective says it’s working through the process of welcoming new members on board, with inquiries from a number of respected winemakers with Māori heritage.

In addition to expanding its membership base, TUKU is also now reaching out to other wine producing regions around the world – starting with Canada – to connect with indigenous winemakers to share knowledge and create an informal network of support and cultural learning.

Wines to be showcased at official Matariki dinner

TUKU’s wines will be showcased at the upcoming ‘Tohunga Tūmau’ event - the official Matariki dinner - being held in Ōtautahi -Christchurch on Thursday 13th July - the eve of the Māori Lunar New Year celebration (tickets available here)

This is the third year TUKU wines have been served at the event, which sees hundreds of people gather together for a multi-course feast cooked by some of the country’s best Māori chefs, including Hangi Master Rewi Spraggon (the founder of the event), Hiakai’s Monique Fiso, and Homeland’s Peter Gordon, using Māori-produced food and beverages Lemongrass Productions is the event organiser.

To celebrate Matariki and its five-year anniversary, TUKU Collective has a limited time Matariki mixed case available exclusively through United Cellars (who can offer NZ-wide shipping). Click here to explore the mixed case.


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