Nestled against the quiet and picturesque foothills of Greenmeadows on the outskirts of Napier is New Zealand’s only nineteenth century winery – The Mission Vineyards.
It is New Zealand’s oldest producer of wines still under the same management and its sizeable winery and vineyards, under the control of The Greenmeadows Mission Trust Board, help fund the work of The Society of Mary throughout New Zealand and the South Pacific.
Established in 1851 by French missionaries Father Lampila and two lay brothers Florentin and Basil on seven acres given to them by a friendly Maori chief, Puhara, they planted crops and wines. This was the beginning of Mission Vineyards.
Disputes, however, broke out between rival tribes and the Mission moved to Meeanee and re-established its vineyards in 1858.
Overshadowing successes at Meeanee was the constant threat of flooding and so, in 1909, the seminary and vineyard moved to its present site. Overlooked by the grand old seminary on Mount St Mary, the Mission Vineyards Estate is a familiar landmark to all who visit Hawkes Bay and the ideal venue for a Concert under the Stars.
First staged in 1993 the Mission Concert has featured Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Ray Charles, Kenny Rogers, Dionne Warwick, Shirley Bassey, Julio Iglesias and the Beach Boys.
A new era of concert presentation commenced in 2003 with SEL taking up the producer’s role for future Mission Concerts. The first artist to appear under this new agreement was Sir Cliff Richard. The Mission Concert site was identified by Sir Cliff as a spectacular venue, not only an ideal location for the final performance of the Wanted World Tour but the perfect venue to record the performance for the Wanted World Tour DVD release. Since 2003 the Mission has hosted John Farnham, Belinda Carlisle, The B52’s, Rod Stewart, Chris de Burgh, Olivia Newton John and Eric Clapton.