Research Team

Reni Wereta-Gargiulo

Taranaki Iwi | Managing Director | Atutahi Kiwi Kai Nelson

Reni Wereta-Gargiulo is an innovative entrepreneur with a passion for bringing the best kiwi kai to New Zealand and the world. She has developed three successful food and beverage brands out of Nelson – Atutahi, Kiwi Kai and Kai Fusionz, which are woven together with a tikanga Maori vision. Entrepreneurial skills inherited from ancestors on her mother’s Pakeha side (O’Carroll) coupled with her Maori values and heritage of Ngaati Ruanui, Nga Rauru and Te Atiawa on her father’s side are the foundations of her business ethos. Reni and her family are focused on further understanding the use of traditional Maori ingredients to improve the nutritional value and wellness benefits of their brands, as well as helping to educate New Zealand and the world.

Rebecca Assice

Independent Consultant

Rebecca Assice is an entrepreneur and ex-management consultant with a passion for helping businesses grow and expand. She has established several successful businesses in Asia Pacific (Virtual Room Asia Pacific and Escape Hunt Australia / New Zealand) and now leverages her experience and consulting background to advise businesses on how to grow and improve. As a proud kiwi based in Singapore since 2011 where she is the Vice President of the New Zealand Chamber Singapore, along with her decade long corporate career in Australia, Rebecca is uniquely positioned to help New Zealand businesses succeed in Asia Pacific.

Michelle Cubitt

Regulatory Consultant

Michelle Cubitt is an independent regulatory consultant operating under “Smart Regulatory Services” providing strategic and technical solutions in an easy to understand way. Michelle has over 10 years’ experience in global regulatory activities in all relevant national and international markets (Asia/Pacific, Europe and North America) across all product categories (supplements, foods, cosmetics, and medical devices).

Public Summary

Managing Director – Kiwi Kai Nelson: Reni Wereta-Gargiulo | Taranaki Iwi

Kiwi Kai Limited is a food and beverages company that has developed ‘Atutahi’ – a lightly carbonated range of drinks using Aotearoa New Zealand native leaf (Horopito, Kumarahou and Kawakawa). This project intends to undertake and initiate market and consumer research for Aotearoa New Zealand native leaf (Horopito, Kumarahou and Kawakawa) derived carbonated drinks; review the regulatory landscape and options for commercialising these products; as well as investigate new product development.

Atutahi has a contract with local brewer Kombucha Bros who are their MPI approved manufacturer. Kiwi Kai Limited supply the leaf, syrups and labels for Kombucha Bros to make the drinks.

The approach to this project is one based on whanaungatanga (collaboration) and tino rangatiratanga (self-determination); values held strongly by Kiwi Kai Ltd. It also provides a platform that enables Kiwi Kai Limited to combine mātauranga Māori practices with western science to lead, create and deliver high-value New Zealand native leaf derived beverages.

Atutahi is a lightly carbonated range of drinks using New Zealand Native leaf. Horopito, Kumarahou and Kawakawa are hand harvested dried and stored. The leaf is grown naturally in the New Zealand environment. Kawakawa and Horopito is on whānau lands in the Marlborough Sounds. Kumarahou is sourced commercially from whānau in the Coromandel. There are no sprays or pesticides used. Syrup for the Kawakawa and Kumarahou drinks are manufactured by Barkers Geraldine. New Zealand blackcurrant concentrate is sourced from New Zealand blackcurrants and Tasman Bay boysenberry concentrate is sourced locally (these are mixed in the Horopito drink).

View Atutahi website.