The Origins of Kuru Kuru Wines

Kuru Kuru Wines History

Joss Bay located in Stewart Island

Joss Bay, The Neck, Stewart Island/Rakiura.

In 1836 our 4th great grandfather, Captain James Joss, purchased a parcel of land from chief Tuhawaiki on the remote northern peninsula of New Zealand’s Stewart Island. He married our Maori Grandmother KURU KURU of the Ngāi Tahu tribe. Here they farmed vegetables.


They loved their land and our family origins have been the inspiration for Kuru Kuru Wines. KURU KURU is our link to Ngāi Tahu, our iwi, our tribe. Each bottle of KURU KURU proudly displays a portrayal of her moko kauae, the mark carved on her chin, signalling her respected position in Maori society.

The home of Captain James and Kuru Kuru Joss Our Story Bendigo Station 
The home of Captain James and Kuru Kuru Joss at
Joss Bay, Stewart Island/Rakiura. Source Alexander
Turnbull Library.
Kuru Kuru is our link to Ngāi Tahu our iwi our tribe. Bendigo & Tarras, Central Otago


The Winemakers

Hayden Johnston - Owner, General ManagerHayden Johnston – Owner, General Manager

Following in the tradition of his 4th great grand parents Captain James and Kuru Kuru Joss, Hayden travelled and worked abroad and returned home to Otago following a hit and run accident in London.

In 2002 he bought an orchard in Earnscleugh, Central Otago where he grows organic cherries and planted a vineyard on his land at the Bendigo sub-region. Hayden is a bit obsessed with quality and just like his ancestors he takes a great sense of pride in growing fruit to the highest standards with harmony and respect for the soils and environment.

After planting his vineyard in New Zealand he returned to the UK and started a wine distribution business in Dublin and London. He is now based back in New Zealand and values the experience in the wine trade abroad.

Before the accident Hayden worked in a financial background. He qualified as a chartered accountant after completing a degree and graduate diploma in Accounting, Finance and Marketing at the University of Otago. Part Scottish and part Ngāi Tahu descendant, Hayden embraces the past and present culture of his family. In his spare time Hayden loves to hit the hills on a mountain bike and go for the occasional run or hike.


Antony Worch - WinemakerAntony Worch - Winemaker

Antony Worch and partner Marion Vialade first came to New Zealand from France in 2005 for a vintage experience in Central Otago. They fell in love with the country, the wine and the kiwi lifestyle and now call New Zealand home with son Jules.

After graduating with a Master in Winemaking and Vineyard Management in Montpellier (France) Antony and Marion both gained experience in their home regions of Alsace and Languedoc with Clos St Landelin and Mas Amiel before venturing abroad to work at Hamilton Russell in South Africa and New Zealand.

Antony is a keen soccer player and contributes some French flair to the local football team.


The New Zealand Story

The story of Kuru Kuru Wines reflects the stories that have shaped New Zealand. Ultimately a journey punctuated by connections across time, recognition of our past, and hopes for our future. With reverence for our history and ancestors we forge new ventures from what they have created.