The name Nga Waka was chosen to reflect their sense of place. The name is taken from Nga Waka A Kupe which translates as The Canoes of Kupe. Three hills, which lie like upturned canoes, form a backdrop for the town of Martinborough. Legend has it that the hills were formed by the three canoes of the Polynesian explorer Kupe, carried inland by a huge earthquake and coming to rest in the valley behind Martinborough.

Chapter one of the Nga Waka story is set in Paris. The year was 1974, as it happens the year the first, experimental New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc was produced. Gordon Parkinson, a career diplomat, took up a posting at the New Zealand Embassy in the French capital. As he and his young family settled into life in France, Gordon became captivated by the wines of the Old World. He explored, tasted and collected. This fascination with wine rubbed off on his son, Roger and was, in turn, the impetus for the eventual establishment of Nga Waka Vineyard in Martinborough. 

More than twenty years on, and now ten hectares, Nga Waka is still family-owned and remains focused on producing fine Martinborough wine for the table and cellar. 




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