Skip to main content
Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



Related Images


The origins and early history of the wine industry in New Zealand are obscure. It is known, however, that Marsden introduced the grape vine in 1819, and that Busby produced wine on his Waitangi estate in 1833. In the South Island French settlers planted small vineyards at Akaroa. The oldest winery in New Zealand, which was established in 1865, is at the Mission Vineyards at Greenmeadows, Hawke's Bay. By the close of the century small commercial vineyards were established in other parts of Hawke's Bay and in the Auckland-Northland region. Today these districts comprise more than 90 per cent of the area of New Zealand's vineyards.

No reliable statistics for wine production exist prior to 1916 when 85,000 gallons were made. By the outbreak of the Second World War, 174,000 gallons were produced. Since then production has increased steadily, reaching 1,500,000 gallons in 1964. In 1957 a Select Committee of the House of Representatives investigated the needs of the wine-making industry; and, by and large, its recommendations have guided the industry's development in its legal aspects. The restrictions placed upon the importation of spirits and wines by the 1958 Budget created an immediate demand for the cheaper New Zealand wines. Although these restrictions have since been relaxed, the industry's subsequent expansion shows that the public has acquired a taste for locally grown wines. Since 1955 the annual consumption of wine has been steadily increasing and is about 0·7 gallons per head per annum. Imported wines, now highly priced, occupy a very subordinate position in the New Zealand market, four bottles of local wine being consumed for every one imported.


Bernard John Foster, M.A., Research Officer, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington.