Rachel’s Māori heritage and advocacy for young entrepreneurs, women in particular, are among her most passionate inspirations. Business savvy, and an innate gift for innovation have led to extraordinary success —first as an entrepreneur founding Yellow Brick Road (a wholesale seafood company), and most recently as the first female CEO of one of the country’s largest food and beverage exporters, Kono. Rachel shared her personal journey walking through Kono NZ’s orchards in Motueka.
Rachel’s career has paved the way for bold leadership roles beyond business. During our walk Rachel explained “Kono is ranked amongst New Zealand’s top 100 food and beverage companies [by revenue].” Only five CEOs on this list are women and only one is Māori [Rachel herself]. “As a shareholder in Wakatu [Kono NZ’s owning entity] through my own whakapapa [genealogical links], the role of CEO comes with immense responsibility to ensure the resources with which I am entrusted are cared for, valued, and enhanced for future generations. I’m working for the family business now, and I love it” she says.
Of Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga, Ngāti Rarua and Ngāti Koata descent, Rachel was destined to be a leader. In her senior year as a spirited Head Girl at St Oran’s College, Rachel got her first taste of the high seas, being awarded a sailing experience on a tall ship from Boston, USA to Liverpool, England. The experience helped sow the seeds of a business venture that a decade later would establish itself a trade leader in sustainability and conservation.
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