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White Swan’s double-win

A double-win for the White Swan Hotel had the owners crying in disbelief.

The Greytown restaurant took out two prizes at the Wairarapa Business Awards recently, the Vibrant Award, and the Supreme Award – the top prize.

White Swan Hotel owner Nick Rogers said the two awards were completely unexpected.

“I got emotional. We hoped to win the Vibrant Award, but the Supreme Award was outside our wildest dreams.

“It’s great to get positive news after the last few years. There have been all these negatives recently, so it’s nice to have some positives.”

The judges gave the Vibrant Award, for the restaurant’s emphasis on developing a young, energetic workforce, with 22 staff under 22-years-old.

Rogers said it was important to invest in young workers.

“You have to give them the opportunity. If they want to work, we need to encourage them.

“Our young team are learning professionalism; how to apply for leave, abide by the roster, and be reliable.

“We never say the words staff or boss. We call ourselves a team.”

The owners were also commended for the volunteer time they devoted to other Wairarapa tourism businesses, as part of Destination Wairarapa and Country Heaven.

“The judges mentioned how Rosie [co-owner] and I had done a lot for the wider community.”

The pair bought the restaurant weeks before the pandemic broke out in 2020. 

“At the time, it felt like the worst decision. It’s ended up being the best thing we’ve done.”

This was the third year the restaurant entered the Business Awards.

Since moving to Wairarapa from Auckland, Rogers said the business in the region had grown.

“Wairarapa has really come of age. Looking back to when we first moved here, it was impossible to believe Greytown has become the area it now is.”

He said the business community was a collaborative one.

“You gotta support each other in this micro-economy. It doesn’t take a long time to get to know each other.

“We only sell wines made 26km away from here, and for food, we try to use as many locally grown ingredients as we can.”

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Helen Holt
Helen Holt
Helen Holt is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age and enjoys reporting on a variety of topics, regularly covering Wairarapa events, tourism, local businesses, and the occasional health story.

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