New Zealand: History

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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missionaries were responsible for New Zealand’s first grapevines, planted by an Englishman, the Reverend Samuel Marsden, at Kerikeri on the far north east coast of the North Island in 1819. There is no record of Marsden making wine. That honour belongs to the first British resident, James busby, who established a vineyard at nearby Waitangi in 1836 and subsequently sold his wine to the British troops.

New Zealand’s early English working-class settlers preferred beer to wine, their thirst founding and sustaining a substantial brewing industry. (The country’s annual per capita consumption of beer still exceeds 70 l/18 gal per capita, while that of wine is just over 20 l.).