About te Pa Wines
te Pa - one yourney's end begins another
It all began here. Around 1350 AD, it is said, the first canoes rode the crashing waves of the Wairau Bar in to the Wairau river mouth. People set foot in Aotearoa-New Zealand, perhaps for the very first time.
Nestled between the mighty Wairau River and the azure waters of the Cook Strait ocean, with Cloudy Bay directly in front, te Pa's home block vineyard at the Wairau Bar is as majestic as it is productive. Founder and owner of te Pa, Haysley MacDonald traces his ancestry back to the early Maori settlers who landed on Wairau Bar 800 years ago. This site became the earliest known settlement in New Zealand. Ever since then, the land at the Wairau Bar has been a source of sustenance and abundance to the people who call it home. The site is regarded as one of the most archeologically important places in the country.
The MacDonald family, descendants of the original tribe who arrived all those centuries ago, still call the Wairau Bar home. The large clan have taken a multi-generation approach to the caring for the land.
From cattle grazing, to potato farming, the fertile seaside soils of 'the Pa', as it's known to the family, have been cultivated for many things over the years. In 2003 Haysley MacDonald and his family started a new adventure, converting their dairy and crop farm into vineyards and in 2011 te Pa was born. Since releasing its first vintage Sauvignon Blanc in 2011, the te Pa brand has grown to represent impeccable quality, true heritage and authenticity, and a drive to create new growth from ancient lands. Today, te Pa is rapidly growing internationally and now owning around 500ha across Marlborough.
The name te Pa
In traditional Maori culture, the centre of the community / iwi (tribe) was the ‘Pa’, which was a fortified village, that housed the people. There was an ancient Pa site on the Wairau Bar which is located near to the te Pa home vineyards, and that's where Haysley's ancestors settled and had their homes since the early arrivals around 800 years ago. So the Pa (te Pa) was quite literally their home. This way, te Pa can be understood as 'the home' or 'our home'.
te Pa logo: hei matau
The distinctive te Pa logo is a literal representation of the hei matau, a traditional Maori fish hook, which illustrates the MacDonald family's connection to the Wairau Bar and the surrounding bodies of water as their source of sustenance. The logo is also symbolic of waru which is ‘eight’ in Te Reo Maori, which gives a nod to the family's 800-year history on the land. The hei matau represents strength, prosperity, good luck and safe travel across water. It also incorporates the importance of fishing to Maori and a great respect for the sea.
Maori winemakers collective TUKU
Haysley is the driving force behind the TUKU collective. TUKU is the world’s first Maori winemakers collective, bringing together awarded Maori owned wine companies based on their shared values of the land, family and hospitality, together offering a wide range of premium varietals from the most famous wine growing regions of Aotearoa New Zealand. These five wine companies are complemented by diverse iwi origins, from Tauranga Takitimu Waka and Rotorua-Te Arawa Waka in the north to Ngati Awa, Ngai Tahu and Ngati Tuwharetoa in the south.
te Pa vineyards
With the river to the south and the sea on our eastern boundary at Cloudy Bay, these two bodies of water ensure continuous airflow throughout the growing season, moderating temperatures and assisting vineyard health. The Wairau Bar is not vast, but it encompasses a rich variation of soil types, from rich, fertile loams overlaying alluvial deposits to the sandy, silty soils of our seaside blocks. It’s a treasure trove for the te Pa winemaker, producing fruit of varying characteristics that come together in our distinctive wines. Home Estate Vineyard, Seaside Reserve Vineyard and Riverside Vineyard is found here.
The stunning Awatere Valley is on the seaward side where vineyards cover the hills and terraces of this famous slice of wine producing land. The Hillside Vineyard lies on these clay and stony loam soils, where vines grow deep root systems to search for water and nutrients. The delicious result of that is small parcels of premium fruit, all of it hand-picked. On the flat our other vineyards are planted on more clay-based soil, creating different characteristics in the fruit and adding a beautiful balance in blending.
Carefully selected sites in Marlborough
From 20 hectares in central Blenheim at the Alabama vineyard, to smaller plantings in the Wairau and Awatere, the Vineyard Manager, Gareth Exton guides the te Pa team to manage every vineyard, every row to ensure the best fruit for all our wines.
Reviews & Accolades for te Pa
- Top Wineries of New Zealand 2018 & 2019 & 2020 & 2021 – Bob Campbell MW
- "a perfect benchmark for the style." (Te Pa Rosé 2020) - International Wine & Spirits Competition 2020
- "From the packaging, key aromatics, taste profile and mouthfeel te Pā wines tick all the boxes." – Cameron Douglas MS