16 May 2013

Minister asking why Chinese deal failed

6:30 am on 16 May 2013

Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples is investigating why a major Maori wine producer has not done a lucrative deal for its premium wine to be distributed to hotels and restaurants throughout China.

The Wakatu Incorporation operates Kono Beverages, an iwi-owned organisation in Nelson.

The business was close to signing a contract with China's third largest wine distributor, Dynasty Ltd - but it did not go ahead.

Kono Beverages chief executive Mike Brown said it was a commercial decision and declined to discuss it further.

The Wakatu Incorporation was part of a Maori delegation that travelled to China to drum up more business - a visit led by Maori Affairs Minister, Pita Sharples.

Dr Sharples says he will investigate, because it represents a missed opportunity to boost the Maori economy.

Kono Beverages says another Marlborough winery - Marisco - has signed with Dynasty instead.