Rachel Taulelei (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Rarua, Ngāti Koata) has been CEO of Kono NZ, a Māori-owned, top 100 New Zealand food and beverage company employing over 400 staff and exporting to over 25 countries. Kono brands include Tohu, Kono and Aronui wines, Tutū cider, Kono mussels, Kiwa oysters and Annies fruit bars. Kono also grows apples, pears, kiwifruit and hops, and is involved in sustainable seafood through its business Yellow Brick Road—founded by Rachel.
Rachel was formerly NZ Trade Commissioner in Los Angeles. She is a fierce advocate of New Zealand’s primary industry and has spent 20 years promoting Aotearoa as a world-class producer of food and beverages.
Her directorships include Moana NZ, Wellington Regional Stadium Trust, New Zealand Wine Growers, Aquaculture New Zealand, and the Young Enterprise Trust.
Rachel has received the Sir Peter Blake Leadership Award, and is a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to food and hospitality. She has been a Prime Minister’s Business Scholar and in 2018 was named Māori Woman Business Leader at the prestigious University of Auckland Aotearoa Māori Business Leaders Awards. In 2018 Rachel was selected to be on the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council.