The Trust is governed by a group of seven dedicated trustees, supported by a part-time Executive Secretary.
Sam Weaver is one of the most experienced wine professionals in New Zealand. He is currently Chair of the Kete Ora Trust and was a past chair of the Biodynamic Association of New Zealand.
Sam comes from a farming family in Shropshire, England’s largest inland county. Having studied microbiology at London University he then worked in the London wine trade for10 years, becoming Managing Director of a wine merchant. In 1988 Sam and family moved to New Zealand to join the Kiwi side of his family and started wine making.
In 1991 Sam and his wife Mandy bought a lifestyle block, Churton, in the Waihopai Valley in Marlborough. Quickly realising that a lifestyle block was anything but a lifestyle, they set about expanding and developing the farm. Today Churton is a 51ha farm. The farm focus is on producing wine from 23ha of vineyard and growing Red Devon cattle. It has been farmed biodynamically for over 15 years and in that time has seen the biodiversity of the farm broaden and deepen. Sam sees biodynamics as the ultimate way to bring the best out of the land and to express its unique character or terroir in the Churton wines.
“Biodynamics is the most powerful of farming philosophies. It draws together the use of science-based knowledge but at the same time allows for and encourages a spiritual and intuitive knowledge of the farm, bringing life and emotion to the place”.
Ross has extensive executive experience at the top echelons of business, government and the non-profit sector over the past 30 years. Trained in political science and journalism, he worked in both areas, including for PM David Lange as his Chief Press Secretary, the youngest person to fill such a position. He then spent several years with various advertising and communications companies, forming his own agencies, before sole practices in the fields of strategy, communications and latterly, olive growing.
Ross has served as a Board member for UNICEF NZ and has vast working experience with non-profits, such as pioneering the country’s largest single charity event, Daffodil Day and smoking cessation programme Quit. He was on the Biodynamic Council and now the Kete Ora Trust and is also a member of Olives NZ Wairarapa executive.
Ross grows organic and biodynamic olives, producing highly awarded Dali Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Kalamata Olives. He has several global awards, including Best Olive Oils of the World from the Olympics of olive oil, the New York International Olive Oil Awards, and is the only local winner of Luxury Olive Oil of the World Awards.
Ross lives in Martinborough and Wellington.
“I have always worked hard to grow a better Aotearoa New Zealand, now literally. This country can lead the world in truly sustainable land use and production. It’s our future. Kete Ora Trust is a great way to independently invest donations and receive grants for research and education projects – to grow better together.”
James Millton has made an outstanding contribution to New Zealand wine, leading the way in Organics and Biodynamics as an Artisan Winegrower. He has worked in the industry since 1976 and, with wife Annie, established The Millton Vineyards and Winery in Gisborne, New Zealand in 1984.
In 1986 he was instrumental in writing the certified organic wine standards for winegrowing in New Zealand, in conjunction with Bio-Gro NZ and IFOAM. In 1989 he became the first commercial certified organic wine producer in the country, exporting certified organic produce into the UK and EU. He farms one of the 10 oldest biodynamic wine estates in the world and in 2009 obtained the Demeter certification. He is one of a small number of winegrowers supporting total sustainability, growing, processing, and bottling all his wine on the property. His vineyards are dry farmed, and his wines are exported to over 15 different countries throughout the world.
James has served the New Zealand Wine Industry as a wine judge, he is the past Chair of Organic Winegrowers NZ and has sat on the council of the Bio Dynamic Farming and Gardening Association of New Zealand. In 2009 James received the Jon Manhire Award for outstanding contribution to the organic sector and he was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for Services to the Wine Industry in 2012. In 2019 Annie and James were made Fellows of the New Zealand Wine Institute.
“My interest in supporting the Kete Ora Trust is to give support to those who want to drive for a better Earth where persons perform their daily practice with their head, heart and hands.”
- M.Sc. (Botany) Massey University, New Zealand (1978)
- Diploma of Biodynamic Agriculture, Taruna College, New Zealand (1996)
- Tutor of Diploma and Certificate courses in Biodynamic Agriculture at Taruna College 1997 - 2016
- Tutor of courses in astronomy, biodynamics and botany for adults and children
Rachel compiled the Moon Calendar and Gardening Notes for every issue of Organic New Zealand magazine for 10 years. She is a keen home gardener where she lives in Havelock North. She also pursues her interest in traditional agriculture, navigation and star mythologies in India as well as New Zealand.
“Sharing my interests in the context of different locations, cultures and traditional practices around the world has awoken me to the common human essence in all people.”
“Though we may live in different countries
And speak in different tongues,
When we cleave a clump of living earth
We breathe heaven’s air as one”
“Though we may live in different countries
And may speak in different tongues,
When we share the truth of heaven’s stars
We dwell on Earth as one”
I grew up in Inverness, Scotland, working through my childhood and early teens on a mixed farm as well as dairying. The love of the land and working with the challenges that nature throws at us has never left me. I was lucky to have an amazing mentor/farmer when I was growing up, and his faith in me has shaped who I am today. I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from (…..) and then worked for a variety of agri business in the UK ranging from small scale vegetable and animal farming to large scale arable and animal operations.
I came to New Zealand in 2001 and began managing vineyards for Brunton Road and Matawhero in 2003. I moved to Marlborough in 2010 as a viticulturist for Mudhouse Wines and in 2015 joined the Berakah Vineyard Management team, where we run both conventional and organic vineyards. I consult to organic businesses, and I have an organic wine brand supplying wine in kegs to reduce its carbon footprint.
Having seen first-hand the impact of chemical fertilizers on the soil kingdom, our environment and our people, along with the impact of our actions on our health and the planet, I am driven to make changes in how we farm. We need to look after the land and our world, and farm as sustainably as possible. It requires courage and determination to use organic and biodynamic principles.
“The Kete Ora Trust enables us to forge ahead and educate people about different ways to farm while still being profitable and helps promote better ways to grow our own food and feed our families, and to make better choices in what we buy.”
Gui is a father, beekeeper, enthusiast biodynamic gardener with a love of all things natural. Originally from Brazil, Gui began farming and beekeeping from a very young age. He became acquainted with biodynamic agriculture in 2003 and has been practicing since then, firstly on a commercial basis and later as an enthusiast gardener.
Since coming to Aotearoa New Zealand, Gui has worked as a commercial beekeeper, relief milker and market gardener in Whitianga and then at Hohepa in the Hawkes Bay. He tutored at Taruna and is currently a lecturer in apiculture and horticulture at EIT Te Pūkenga in Taradale.
“To me being at Kete Ora trust is a great service I can give to Aotearoa supporting the creation of a truly sustainable future.”
Gui Barreto Dib
Gui was born in Brazil in 1983. As a child he lived on a biodynamic farm, Demetria, in Botucatu and attended a Waldorf school. In 2007 he was awarded a BA in history at which time he decided to come to NZ for a holiday. Here, he re-connected with the biodynamic movement and worked at Hohepa farms for 9 years, growing vegetables, milking cows and assisting with farm work. He studied the Biodynamic course at Taruna in 2010 and in 2016 he began work there as a Tutor delivering courses on sustainable horticulture and farm machinery. In 2019 Gui was awarded MA in History from Massey University. His thesis focused in the early years of the Biodynamic movement in New Zealand and the establishment of the Biodynamic Association in 1939.
“I believe the Biodynamic way of growing food brings a natural balance to the grower, to the land and to consumers too. Our environment suffers badly from bad farming practices and biodynamic/organic brings so many positive solutions and makes total sense to me. Kete Ora Trust is an instrument for supporting education, research and activities which brings more awareness to a wider audience of the benefits of growing food truly sustainably.”