Mission Insights / Wakatū Incorporation

TranscriptVideo Source

Episode 01 / Interview 02

Interview with Kerensa Johnston, Wakatū Incorporation
Hosted by Jodie Kuntzsch, Mission Zero

Wakatū Incorporation has as its purpose to preserve and enhance its taonga for the benefit of current and future generations.

Based in Whakatū (Nelson), Aotearoa/New Zealand, Wakatū has approximately 4,000 owners, who descend from the customary Māori land owners, the whānau and hapū of the Whakatū, Motueka and Mōhua rohe.

The Incorporation oversees three core businesses:

  • Kono – a food and beverage business focused on high quality beverages, pipfruit and hops
  • Whenua – the foundation of its business with 70% of assets held in land and waterspace including vineyards, orchards, residential properties, large retail developments, office buildings and waterspace
  • AuOra – a consumer-focused, health and wellbeing business.

Wakatū Incorporation has grown from a $11 million asset base in 1977, to a current value of over $350 million. Its owners are connected to the Wakatū legacy, their taonga and tikanga and are descendants of four iwi, Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Rārua, Ngāti Tama, and Te Ātiawa.

Kerensa Johnston is the Chief Executive of Wakatū Incorporation. A former lawyer, she has worked as a solicitor in the private sector, as a Barrister, and as a legal academic at the Faculty of Law, University of Auckland, where she specialised in Māori legal development, public law, land law and international law. She joined Wakatū as its General Counsel in December 2012, and was appointed Chief Executive in 2016. 

Kerensa is the Chair of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, the Māori Centre of Research Excellence and the Chair of Ngāti Tama ki te Tau Ihu Charitable Trust. She is a member of the International Association of Corporate Counsel, Corporate Lawyers’ New Zealand and Te Hunga Roia. Her iwi are Ngāti Tama, Ngāruahine and Ngāti Whāwhakia.

Join us

Sign up to our database for news and alerts to help you take action on climate change. By joining us you become part of a growing business network which recognises that our climate is built into our economy.
Join us

Related posts

Understanding sustainability in Te Tauihu
Episode 01 / Interview 04