WIBF 2018 Featuring: Rachel Taulelei

Rachel Taulelei (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Rarua, Ngāti Koata) has been the CEO of Kono NZ since 2015. Kono is a Maori-owned, top 100 New Zealand food and drinks company employing over 400 staff, farming over 530 hectares of land and sea, and exporting to over 25 countries. Their products include Tohu and Aronui wines, Kono mussels, Annies fruit bars, and Tutū cider.

Kono is an associated business of Wakatū Incorporation. Based in Nelson, Wakatū has approximately 4,000 shareholders who descend from the original Māori land owners of the Nelson, Tasman and Golden Bay Regions – Te Tau Ihu, the top of the South Island.

Founder of sustainable seafood company Yellow Brick Road, Rachel was formerly NZ Trade Commissioner in Los Angeles. She is a fierce advocate of New Zealand’s primary industry, and has spent 20 years promoting Aotearoa as a world-class producer of food and beverages.

Her directorships include Moana NZ, Wellington Regional Stadium Trust, New Zealand Wine Growers, Aquaculture New Zealand, the Sir Peter Blake Trust and the Young Enterprise Trust.

In 2012, Rachel was the recipient of a Sir Peter Blake Leadership Award, a board on which she now sits. In 2015 Rachel was honoured to be made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to food and hospitality, and in 2017 was named a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Business Scholarship.


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