2016 Horizon Business Excellence Awards

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Every two years the Whakatane Memorial Hall undergoes significant transformation.

Instead of the sweaty smell of jocks vying for sporting dominance, the air is heady with perfume. Bleachers are replaced by floor to ceiling drapes and beautifully laidout tables fill what usually resembles a cavernous arena.

And it is all done to showcase the Eastern Bay of Plenty’s business talent and capability.

The 2016 Horizon Business Excellence Awards go ahead on Saturday with finalists in each of the seven categories announced and tickets to the black tie affair all but sold out.

Duncan Garner has agreed to lend his voice as master of ceremonies and will also broadcast his RadioLIVE Show, Drive, from Whakatane the evening before the awards.

Hosted by the Eastern Bay of Plenty Chamber of Commerce, the awards attract entries from our region’s vast and varying business organisations.

Chamber Chief Executive Officer Gerard Casey described the entry process as robust.

“The awards deliver real benefits to organisations entering, largely through the thorough selfassessment process each goes through,” he said.

“Each also enjoys an enhanced profile, a boost in staff morale and public recognition of the organisation’s achievements.”

He said it was exciting to be hosting Duncan Garner in the Eastern Bay.

“As well as exposure from his radio show, Mr Garner will see firsthand, the level of business success we enjoy in the region and will hopefully go back and tell people about it.”

The Chamber took over hosting the business awards in 2010. Up until that point and since 1985, they had been known as the Triple A Business Awards and run by a group of volunteers.

“It’s been an enjoyable learning curve since we picked up the reigns,” Mr Casey laughed.

“The first year it was largely myself and Chamber Office Manager Kirsten Ashcroft running the show including washing and drying dishes at the conclusion of the event.

“Our team of volunteers has grown since then.”

He said it was important local businesses had a forum and an opportunity to showcase excellence and the awards provided the perfect opportunity.

“Eastern Bay businesses achieve well on a national stage. Businesses featuring in the awards allow an opportunity to be benchmarked against others and also drill down on what they are doing.

Judged by Waikato University Business School faculty, the awards also push entrants through the challenging and in depth entry form but enable feedback from the judges.

As well as the Nova Excellence in Business Award for large business, the Focus Accountants Excellence in Business Award for medium business and the Waiariki Institute of Technology Excellence in Business for small business, the awards celebrate emerging and new business, young leaders, work/life balance and excellence in sustainability.

On the night, all excellence category winners are automatically entered into the Supreme Winner Business of the Year Award an award recognising the most outstanding business overall. In 2014 the honour went to East Coast Heavy Diesel and Machinery.

Other premier awards include the Toi EDA Excellence in Economic Development Award, the Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi Business Entrepreneur Award, the Hamertons Lawyers Excellence in Innovation Award and the Sun FM Leadership Award.

Finalists are:
Nova Energy Excellence in Business (large)

  • Mainstream Engineering
  • Nicholson Autos
  • New Zealand Manuka Group
  • Ohope Top 10 Holiday Park
  • Extreme Boats

Focus Accountants Excellence in Business (medium)

  • First Credit Union
  • Kawerau Medical Centre
  • Life Pharmacy Whakatane
  • Ohope 4 Square
  • The Wrangler
  • Whakatane Office Products

Waiariki Institute of Technology Excellence in Business (small)

  • Bullseye Productions NZ
  • Christie Electrics 2010 Limited
  • Columbus Coffee Whakatane
  • Evolution Autos Ltd
  • HBC Home Based Childcare
  • High Profile Enterprises

Julian’s Berry Farm and Cafe Excellence in Business Emerging/New Business

  • Awakeri Rail Adventures
  • Diverse Graphics
  • Eastern Bay Chiropractic
  • Plenty Limited
  • Stage Door Performing Arts Academy

New World Whakatane Emerging Young Leader of the Year

  • Bradley McKenzie (Nicholson Autos)
  • Simon Wren (Wren Builders)
  • Patrick O’Sullivan (White Island Tours)
  • Karla Meharry (East Coast Heavy Diesel)
  • Steve Franklin (Hamertons Lawyers)
  • Lewis Ellis (Whakatane Office Products Depot)
  • Tete Raerino (Columbus Coffee Whakatane)
  • Paul Julian (Julian’s Berry Farm and Cafe)

Spark The Employer of the Year Work/Life Balance Award

  • Columbus Coffee Whakatane
  • Whakatane District Council
  • Ohope Top 10 Holiday Park
  • NZ Manuka

Bay of Connections Excellence in Sustainable Practices Award

  • Trident High School
  • White Island Tours
  • Ohope Beach 4 Square


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