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Marlborough-based te Pā Wines has been experiencing extraordinary growth in offshore markets. For the story behind the export success of this family business, ExporterToday spoke to director and proprietor Haysley MacDonald. 


ET: How did te Pā first get into the export sector? And what were some of the lessons learnt in the early days?   

Haysley: Our first export market was the UK, back around 2013 and just two years after we first launched the te Pā brand here in New Zealand.

Some of the most important lessons we learned during those early days of export was to do your due diligence and take the time to research your potential partners, because they ultimately go in and represent our brands and everything our team works so hard to create.

As we grow our export efforts around the world, we still invest lots of time to make sure that we have the right fit and alignment with our distribution partners. 


ET: You have a diverse range of export destinations; how do you approach each market in terms of suppliers and distribution?

Haysley: Each market varies by country, state, consumer patterns, and every other factor you can think of. Consider the US and the UK, for example, which are two of the largest export markets for New Zealand wine, and yet they are vastly different in how you need to approach each one. The US, with its three-tier distribution system and each state governed by slightly different laws, means you are working with a very different environment than what we are working with in the UK – which has the population and is a mature market for New Zealand wine but has its own unique set of challenges because of Brexit.

Whichever export market we are working with, we bring the same values, same quality of wine and when we can connect distributors and consumers to the unique story and heritage of te Pā, they understand that the provenance and quality of what we can offer is second to none.


ET: Which markets are performing the best, and why?

Haysley: We see so much potential in the US. We are in the early stages of growth there but the feedback from our partners there is that customers and retailers love ‘Brand te Pā’.

They love our brand story and unique heritage, they love the family-owned estate, and once they have a taste of what we produce – it’s all on!

New Zealand is also one of our best performing markets, and we are going from strength to strength with our distribution partner Beverage Brothers Ltd through our Pā Road brand – one of the fastest growing wine brands in the country.


ET: How do you market the te Pā brand/story in each market – and what has been the key to your marketing success in each territory?

Haysley: The key really is pounding the pavements and working closely with our distribution partners. We also work hard to supply high quality materials, point of sale, and a good flow of communication with relevant information, awards, new vintage updates and so on.

One on one we’re building the story and brand, and 2020 will be a big year for focusing efforts on our premium branded products here in New Zealand and around the world.


ET: Have you received any assistance when it comes to your export initiatives?

Haysley: We’ve been self-funded to date and that gives us total autonomy and the ability to do things our way – te Pa style – and to act and react appropriately and on our terms.


ET: What are te Pā’s export goals? And what are the biggest threats to your continued sales expansion?

Haysley: Our goals are laser-focused on growing our branded business and becoming a recognised premium New Zealand wine brand around the world. We have the unique Māori heritage; a powerful, authentic, provenance-based story, estate-owned vineyards, beautiful branding, a proactive social media presence, a dynamic team –  and most of all, a drive to bring our wines to the world.

As for the threats – climate change is something we all need to be responding to and be proactive about. We are focusing on our sustainability efforts and take our role as kaitiaki, guardians of the land, seriously.

Other threats include changing consumer trends, and the sale of New Zealand lands to foreign interests – and what that means for the potential loss of control in the industry, the loss of profit and tax being taken from Kiwis and Kiwi business.

Of concern is the loss of the next generation coming through as landowners because once land here is sold off to foreign interests, it doesn’t often come back – which, in turn, can lead to pressure on the competitiveness of Kiwi-owned businesses in international markets.

This is a topic I am really passionate about and I have advocated in front of a Parliament Select Committee as well as the New Zealand wine industry.

Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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