9 Feb 2012

Cultures help Maori business to bond with Chinese

7:55 pm on 9 February 2012

A Maori company says it's created a stronger business by bringing three food and beverage brands under one name.

Kono has been chosen as the new brand for Aotearoa Seafoods, Tohu Wines and Ngatahi Horticulture.

Kono - which means food basket - exports 90% of its products, including crayfish and mussels.

Its Nelson-based parent company, Wakatu Incorporation, says China is potentially its largest market for seafood.

Chief executive Keith Palmer says the link between Maori and the Chinese goes deeper than a business deal.

He says the Chinese are an ancient civilisation, and have huge regard for their ancestors.

Mr Palmer says when Chinese customers come to New Zealand and are welcomed with a powhiri, a bond is created when Maori acknowledge their ancestors.

He says it took eight years and about $1 million to roll out the Kono brand - as well as a lot of thought.