As any sustainable business has to be, Villa Maria is passionate about the development and happiness of their staff; as well as the people of the surrounding community. We have been an equal opportunity employer for many years, in the 1960s becoming one of the first New Zealand wine companies to employ female wine sales representatives.
Villa Maria Estate has maintained a long standing relationship with the people of Mangere, the suburb in which its Auckland Winery is located. We contributed to the Mangere Heritage Trail working group and currently partner with the local community and the Makaurau Marae in efforts to protect local heritage zones for future generations. This area is also part of the Mangere Gateway project and forms part of the Auckland Council Southern Initiative of which we are engaged supporters. Villa Maria’s relationship with the neighbouring Marae does not end there, with sustained consultation over the years and gaining input around protection of the waterways when building our Auckland Winery.
Villa Maria has a strong belief in developing youth and was part of the Manukau Business Advisory Forum to foster youth employment. The company has over the years engaged in programmes to train young people within the industry and one such cadet, Blake Tahapehi was featured in the media in late 2012, discussing his development since starting part time with the company whilst still at school, his further training and education through working at Villa Maria and his goal of moving into vineyard management. It’s crucial for us to focus on the next generation and provide them with opportunities to succeed.
Sponsorships are a key opportunity for the business to support the local community, and Villa Maria places great importance on supporting community initiatives, especially in the fields of arts and culture. Amongst the major annual sponsorships are the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra, the Auckland Theatre Company, the Michael Hill International Violin Competition, and Dalmatian community cultural events. Each year, Villa Maria contributes a large amount of wine donations and financial assistance to the organisations it supports.