On the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park in Nelson is the coastal settlement known as Mārahau. The owners of our indigenous food and drinks company Kono, call Mārahau, and the rest of the top of the South Island, known as Te Tauihu o te Ika a Māui – home.
We come together as whānau, to camp and gather on our customary land every summer. Each time, we are reminded of the values that shape and guide what we do in modern life. The values of manaakitanga – the quality of care and generosity towards people; and kaitiakitanga; the importance of balance and the need to ensure that this balance between people and the whenua, our land and sea, is maintained. Te Tauihu is our tūrangawaewae, the place where we make sense of the world before we push out into new frontiers.
For hundreds of years, our ancestors have lived here, cultivating gardens and fishing the warm, safe bay for rich, fat cockles, pipi, snapper, mussels, kahawai and crab. We have always been gardeners, fishermen, orchardists, artisans and providores.
Through the passage of time, the world has challenged us to innovate. To become scientists, researchers, wine makers, branders, marketers, viticulturists, and leaders. We have taken up that challenge without hesitation and today craft award winning and world renowned products like Tohu and Aronui wines, Kono mussels, Annies fruit bars, Tutū cider and more.
At Kono, we have embarked on a journey of deep introspection to determine what being a good kaitiaki really means to us. We are guided by Te Pae Tawhiti – a 500 year plan for success. A compass that ensures we do what is right for people and place, and that manifests itself through ambitious intergenerational outcomes, core to which is our environment. To prosper, our environment must be well and healthy, full of life and vitality.
This is not only because our moana and whenua deserve to be healthy in their own right, but also because the wellness of our people is intrinsically linked to the wellbeing of our environment. Love for the land and respect for the sea must be ever present.
Kaitiakitanga is the value that directs our business and our relationship with our environment. It’s our hope that customers will come to understand our guiding principles and know that products crafted by Kono have at their core a deep and inextricable connection to place.
The new face of Kono encapsulates the power of four - four corners of beautifully woven harakeke kono from which we take our name, four iwi to whom our owners whakapapa, and ngā wāhanga e whā o te tau, giving us our four seasons.
Referencing traditional art forms, the linear lines of our new face pay tribute to the whenu (strands) of fibre that are the basis of all mediums of weaving. The combined attributes of strength, durability, unity and flexibility are the hallmark of finely woven products.
The carving patterns of kaokao (chevrons), niho taniwha (triangles) and hekeheke (lines) are integrated. The positive and negative space are akin to the grooves and notches (pākati and hae) found in elaborate works of carved art and these patterns invoke themes of courage, leadership, exploration, movement, protection, responsibility and care.
All of these characteristics, qualities, and values infuse our icon, connecting Kono to the customs of ages past, the design practices of today, and our aspirations for the future.
Our icon speaks of who we are. Above all, it is a promise – that we will live up to the principles of pono, whanaungatanga, manaakitanga, and kaitiakitanga.
Nāa tō rourou, nā taku rourou, ka ora ai te iwi
With my basket and yours, we, the people will prosper and be well
Chief Executive – Kono NZ LP