A traditional kono basket
Weaving a flax basket
The wine is pale with green hues and has scents of lemon and honeysuckle. Peach and a touch of lime zest come through on the palate opening out to include hints of gooseberry. Lip-smacking, full, dry finish. It would be great with steamed mussels, fishcakes or a chicken stirfry.
Marlborough’s free-draining, alluvial loams over gravelly subsoils, abundant sunshine and cool nights provide ideal growing conditions for Kono Sauvignon Blanc.
A blend of fruits from the Awatere, Waihopai, and Lower Wairau Valleys gives this Sauvignon Blanc the classic Marlborough fruit burst with great palate weight and a clean, crisp finish.
'Kono' in Maori means 'food basket'. It is a traditional woven basket used to carry, protect and present produce from land and sea by the Maori. It is made from New Zealand's native flax, the harakeke plant (featured on the label and also see the photo of flax weaving).
Harakeke is an integral part of the indigenous Maori world. Since ancient time it has been recognised for its strength, durability, adaptability and growth. These qualities are a metaphor for the way they operate.
Kono is a brand that has been developed and is owned by Wakatu Incorporation based in Nelson, New Zealand.
The Incorporation was established in 1977 by Government order to take over the administration of some 1400ha of Maori reserved land. These were the remnants of lands set aside as a condition of purchase from the original Maori owners by the New Zealand Company in 1841.
The land had been administered on behalf of its owners from 1842 to 1977 by a succession of Crown-appointed Boards, Commissioners and Trustees.
From the 1880s this land was subject to perpetual lease. Government enquiries found the leases unjust but no action was taken until the early 1970s, when a Royal Commission created the seed from which Wakatu was born.
The land vested in Wakatu Incorporation is held in trust for the owners. 1,668 owners received shares in Wakatu Incorporation, and are referred to as shareholders, who receive dividends and not rents. The whenua (lands) which Wakatu Incorporation administers today includes the Nelson Tenths reserves, Motueka and Mohua (Golden Bay) occupational reserves and the land, sea and tourism investments purchased since 1977. The shareholders today are descendants of the original owners, who are from the tribes of Ngati Rarua, Ngati Koata, Ngati Tama and Te Atiawa Iwi.
Investing in the future is imperative for the on-going success of Wakatu, for this reason Wakatu offers an array of scholarships to its Whanau (family) including education. It is hoped that the skills gained by its scholarship recipients will one day be utilised within Wakatu Incorporation.
Kono vineyards are registered with Sustainable Winegrowing New Zealand.
As the Maori proverb goes:
Manaaki Whenua, Manaaki Tangata, Haere whakamua
Care for the land, Care for the people, Go forward.