Seeds we plant today will blossom for future generations.

Our story 1 Te Kano Our story 1 Te Kano

Kowhai cultivation

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On the slopes above our Northburn vineyard grows an ancient Kōwhai tree. Survivor of droughts and fires, this gnarled and craggy ancestor bursts into beautiful golden flower each spring, providing food for the birds and other wildlife in the surrounding area.

This tree forms the basis of the Te Kano values. It also provides the inspiration for an ambitious project – to clear the Northburn site of invasive pests and regenerate the landscape using plants grown on site, including seed from this very tree.

Every year our team harvest and propagate 400 seeds from Old Man Kōwhai, nurturing the slow growing infants until they are ready to plant out across this special landscape. To date we have propagated over 5000 native plants on site, including 900 Kōwhai, and cleared over 50 hectares of invasive plant species.

Our story 3 Te Kano Our story 3 Te Kano

Cultural Conservation

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Within Northburn’s rugged landscape are the cultural remnants of a painstaking, hardworking past. Hand stacked water races and sluice channels run for kilometres around steep ravines. Hidden amongst the rocks are the famous herringbone tailings unique to this part of Otago.

Significant value was placed on these remains during our original site development. The vineyard grew around them, the old mine workings scattered amongst the blocks of vines and now carefully fenced to protect these precious remnants of Central Otago history.

Walking and biking trails are planned for this area, an opportunity for visitors in the future to immerse themselves within the unique landscape of this special area.

Our story 5 Te Kano Our story 5 Te Kano

Historical appreciation

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Central Otago has a rich history. A hard scrabble landscape, barren and severe with its freezing winters and baking summers, it was well travelled by Māori hunters and traders long before European settlement. Europeans arrived in the early 1800s and their numbers rapidly swelled with the discovery of gold in 1861. The influx of Chinese and European prospectors changed the face of the region forever. Enormous fortunes were won and lost. Such losses weren’t just financial either – the very landscape was hugely altered.

A slash and burn approach to agriculture dominated the next 100 years of Northburn’s existence, with scrub regularly lit to clear the way for new pasture and grazing land. The land was massively changed, but not irrevocably so.

Te Kano has started a new era for the Northburn site, to undo some of the harms done by previous occupants. Our goal is to leave a different sort of footprint, with a restorative and regenerative approach to agriculture and a focus on leaving the land better than we found it.

Our story 7 Te Kano Our story 7 Te Kano

Our story

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Like most great tales, Te Kano is a love story.

Rhonda Lloyd is a Californian who fell in love with a New Zealander and, from there, fell in love with his country. During regular trips back here their mutual love of Central Otago’s wines grew into a passion. When the opportunity came to purchase outstanding vineyard land they didn’t hesitate.

There followed another love story – the discovery of the Northburn site and its breathtaking natural beauty. Their desire to bring life back to this damaged landscape, to restore the Kōwhai that once thrived there, inspired a move towards organic agriculture and a softer approach to farming.

Now they want to share their adoration for this land. It is why the seeds planted today will blossom for the generations to come. It is how the love story will continue, year after year.