Renata (Ren) Apatu was tragically taken from us last week as a result of a helicopter crash on his beloved family farm Ngamatea Station.

Ren, of Scottish and Maori heritage, was Managing Director of Ngamatea, a station of enormous scale. He was also the Chair of NZ Campaign for Wool Trust of whom HRH The Prince of Wales is the Patron.

Ren inherited his mother Margaret’s passion for wool and has been instrumental in the success of many recent activities for the CFW. His most notable was ‘Weekend in the Woolshed’ when he opened up his farm to 13 Design/Architect graduates and helped inspire them to understand the many possibilities for wool as a fibre of the future. Such was its success we were in the throes of organizing another in early 2019. He was helping to develop a ‘Wool in Architecture’ with the NZ Institute of Architecture, where he was to play a leading role helping to inspire and lead young minds to again understand the possibilities for wool.

Ren was a leader on the world stage. He represented NZ in Scotland at the Dumfries Wool conference and dined with the Prince on this occasion. He sat on the Wool Council in London and more recently spoke on behalf of CFWNZ and the NZ wool grower at the World Wool conference in Hong Kong. All of this he did at his own cost. His passion was genuine.

Wool has many wonderful attributes. These include natural, durable and elastic, easy care, quality and style. I think Ren would only be too pleased to be compared to these.

Natural: Ren had no façade. He treated everyone with equal respect, and honesty. He was genuine and generous.

Durable and Elastic: What didn’t he do? And if he couldn’t, he always had a strategy to make it happen!

Easy Care: Ren introduced himself to the world of wool with ease. He was always just himself. He enjoyed every occasion and chose not to sweat the small stuff.

Quality and Style: Ren had bucket loads of this. Given his position on Ngamatea and his natural charisma he was NZ’s Wool Royalty.

We have been privileged to have Ren amongst us over the last few years. He motivated and kept the fire burning. He had so much more he wanted to do. He is an enormous loss and our hearts go out to his wife Sally and their three beautiful children.

Go well Ren.

Tributes can be left online at or sent to The Apatu Family, c/o PO Box 8424, Havelock North, 4157.