Rachel is the founder of Yellow Brick Road Limited, a Wellington company that specialises in supplying quality seafood direct into restaurants throughout New Zealand. YBR was recently purchased by Kono.
Rachel is a Board Trustee on the Sir Peter Blake Trust, Young Enterprise Trust and the Wellington Regional Stadium Trust, is a Director of iwi-owned fishing company Moana NZ, New Zealand Wine Growers and an Independent Director on Central Otago lamb supply company, Headwaters NZ.
Rachel is a fierce advocate of New Zealand’s primary industry, and has spent 20 years propagating messages of Aotearoa being a world-class producer of food and beverages.
Ngāti Tama, Ngāruahine, Ngāti Whāwhakia
Kerensa is a lawyer who has worked as a solicitor in the private sector, a legal academic at the Faculty of Law, University of Auckland, where she specialised in Māori legal development, public law and land law, and as a Barrister.
Kerensa joined Wakatu Incorporation in December 2012 as its Incorporation Secretary and General Counsel. She is General Counsel for Kono NZ LP, the Food and Beverage business of Wakatu.
Kerensa is a graduate of Victoria University, where she was awarded a BA in History and a LLB. She has a Masters in Laws in International Law (First Class Honours) from the University of Auckland. Kerensa is a member of the International Association of Corporate Counsel, Corporate Lawyers’ New Zealand and Te Hunga Roia.
General Manager - People & Culture
Ngāti Rārua, Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Tama, Ngāti Koata
Rōpata has been with Wakatū Incorporation since 2002 and is currently General Manager - People and Culture for both Wakatū and Kono. As a graduate of Otago University, Ropata has previously worked in the education sector as a secondary school teacher and tertiary lecturer.
Rōpata is of Ngāti Rārua and Te Ᾱtiawa descent and the Chairman of Ngāti Rārua Ᾱtiawa Iwi Trust Board and ex-officio member to the Investment Committee.
Ropata is also a Trustee of the Nelson Regional Economic Development Agency, the Nelson Sculpture Trust, and is a Ministerial appointee to the Kaiteriteri Recreation Reserve Board.
Originally from the Bay of Plenty, Bruce grew up on the beach with a family of scientists, but a love of books and surfing initially drew him to studying History at Waikato University for a Bachelor of Arts. After much travel and a winding career path, Bruce found himself back at University in his 30’s completing a Bachelor of Wine Science.
Extensive travelling and working in wineries around the world eventually ended with a return to Aotearoa in 2006 and a role with Kono as winemaker in 2008. Heading up our vineyard and winery team, Bruce oversees production of all our Kono, Tohu and Aronui wines with a particular passion for terroir driven Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and of course Sauvignon Blanc. Bruce lives happily in Blenheim with his wife Julie, daughter Eve and a 1970 Valiant coupe.
General Manager - Marketing and Sales
Originally from Nelson, Mel and her family are pleased to have returned home in 2014 after living overseas for 15 years. Mel and her husband Jason are residing in Blenheim with their two daughters Ruby and Claudia.
Mel is a graduate of Otago University, where she completed a Bachelor of Commerce and then went on to complete further Post Graduate studies in International Business. Mel is passionate about working within the primary industry sectors and immensely proud to now be responsible for showcasing some of the finest products from Aotearoa.
Mel’s career to date has had a strong global consumer focus where she has spent several years exploring the world’s appetite for products and innovation. Experienced in Leadership, Management, Brand Development and International sales, Mel manages the Marketing and Sales for Kono.
Manager - Kono Horticulture
Marty has been in the horticultural industry for over 35 years, working with a diverse range of crops in orchard, nursery, flower and vegetable production. Throughout this time, he has had roles in processing, marketing and management.
Marty was among the team of people that achieved the first Kiwifruit imports into China in the 1990s. Ironically, it was here that he had his first contact with Wakatu Incorporation, hosting a number of our Directors on a visit to Tianjin.
Originally from Wellington, Marty has spent most of his working life in the Hawkes Bay. Ten years ago he made the move to Nelson to enjoy the abundance of lifestyle opportunities in Te Tau Ihu. Marty joined what was then Ngatahi Horticulture in 2008. As General Manager he was part of the team that planned and implemented Kono NZ as a combined food and beverage company. After a break that included tramping across Aotearoa and MFAT Aid work in Asia, Marty returned to Kono in 2015.