The seeds we plant today will blossom for future generations.

Our story 1 Te Kano Our story 1 Te Kano

Kowhai cultivation

/ 01

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

/ 02

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

/ 03

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

/ 04

Like many a great tale, Te Kano is a story of passion, courage and determination.

It all began when Californian born Rhonda Lloyd fell in love with a New Zealander, and then the country he called home. Never one to shy away from a challenge and with a mutual passion for the wines of Central Otago, the family stepped into the world of grape growing & winemaking and Te Kano was born. Te Kano means the seed in New Zealand’s indigenous Māori language. Very apt for a venture and family with a far-reaching vision.

 When the chance came to purchase a spectacular vineyard site on the famed Felton Road in Bannockburn, the Lloyds didn't hesitate. A few years later the discovery of the Northburn site and its breathtaking natural beauty led to another vineyard project full of potential. This site had endured much by the hands of man. Sluiced by miners during the Otago gold rush and burned for farming, Northburn had been left barren, good for grapes but in need of care. The Lloyds desire to bring life back into this landscape and leave a legacy for generations to come has seen the family undertake a thoughtful, long term regeneration programme. The restoration of native fauna and the iconic Kōwhai trees that once thrived here is transformative, inspiring Te Kano to move towards organic agriculture and a softer farming approach.

Rhonda’s commercial nous along with her endless energy and drive has seen a spoken dream become a reality, propelling the Te Kano wine brand onto a global stage. A true estate brand through and through, Te Kano wines are grown on four sites across Central Otago, and a small vineyard in Waitaki, North Otago. With an exceptional team, their own winery, bottling line and cellar door, Te Kano can ensure an unwavering dedication to quality. From vineyard to glass. 

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 story will evolve and continue, year after year.