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Celebrating our businesses success

MP for Wairarapa Kieran McAnulty and Greater Wellington Regional councillor Adrienne Staples with tribute award recipients Becks Sayer and Paul Southey. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

Resilience was the catchphrase at Wairarapa’s regional celebration of business success on Thursday night.

The Wairarapa Awards, organised by chamber of commerce Business Wairarapa, took place in a hybrid format across six different venues, connected by audio-visual links.

The Wairarapa Racing Club/Tauherenikau Events Centre won both the Tranzit Group Vibrant Award and Trust House Supreme Award.

The night’s highest honour went to the Tauherenikau Events Centre, based at the Tauherenikau Racecourse in South Wairarapa.

The organisation took home both the Tranzit Group Vibrant Award and the Trust House Supreme Award.

Wairarapa Racing Club president Garrick Emms said it was a shock even to win the Vibrant award.

“We’re basically a racetrack,” Emms said.

“But what we’re trying to do is divert and go further to be not just a racetrack, but an events centre. I think the reason we were successful in the tourism side of things was because we’re so diverse.”

Tauherenikau Racecourse had recently hosted music festivals, including a country music festival and dance festival ‘121’.

The racecourse also hosted a range of events, from jet boat sprints to weddings

However, Emms said the real surprise of the night was winning the supreme award.

“That was totally out of the blue. We are in the tourism business, but I think there were some pretty heavy hitters up against us. It was quite a surprise to hear that the judges thought we were making a valuable contribution. I’m really pleased.”

The racing club had been based at Tauherenikau for 157 years and was now starting to move into a new era. However, the transformation had not been without its challenges, with covid playing heavily on the minds of event organisers.

Kahu Environmental were presented with their Gibson Sheat Award for Team at the Ten O’clock Cookie Bakery Cafe.

“An awful lot of work goes into organising events – not just us, but for everybody across the board – and then you turn around, and the damn thing gets cancelled or postponed. You’ve got to be pretty resilient to carry on doing this sort of thing.”

Business Wairarapa chairwoman Julie Millar shared the sentiments of Emms in her opening speech.

“We’ve gone from uncertainty in lockdowns to boomtime,” Millar said. Tonight tells a story of those people who have taken the uncertainty and used it as an opportunity. We salute the brave and the agile, and those who have decided to give the trials and tribulations of life post-covid no airtime.”

Millar spoke from the award ceremony’s central hub at the Copthorne Hotel in Solway.

Five other sites, each hosting one section of the awards, joined in the festivities by audio-visual link: Greytown’s White Swan, the Carterton Events Centre, Clareville Bakery, and Masterton’s 10 O’clock Cookie and Saint Sebastian.

Homegrown Butchery, Deli, and Pantry took home the ANZ Emerging Award.

Carterton Mayor Greg Lang presented the award, saying, “To be a finalist in the ANZ emerging awards, you need to adapt, and I can assure you, our finalists tonight have adapted.”

The More FM Wairarapa 89.5 Service Award went to Masterton’s Barbershop Jordy.

Speaking from Clareville Bakery, owner Jordan McDowall said he could not have won the award without his team.

Auctioneer Prue Hamill celebrates with Wairarapa Chiropractic, winners of the Harcourts Hamill Realty Award for Innovation.

“We’re providing barbering apprenticeships to Wairarapa and creating opportunities for young people to do what they want to do,” McDowall said.

“It’s been a long six years, and we’ve had a few ups and downs.”

Most recently, McDowall had been set to launch his next venture in Carterton, but the shop had burnt down in a fire on Carterton’s High St South last month.

However, McDowall pointed again to the resilience of Wairarapa businesses.

“We’ll keep trucking along and continue to do what we do.”

The Youth 2 Work Youth-Friendly Award went to forestry company Juken New Zealand. The company had their highest ever proportion of workers in the under 25 age group, with aligned pathways for their young workers.

General manager Karl Burling said the company had benefited from the input of these youthful workers.

“We all know that the youth of today require a different approach, but for the most part, they are positive, approachable, and just want a pathway and some leadership,” he said.

Wairarapa Chiropractic won the Harcourts Hamill Realty Award for Innovation.

Chiropractor Ben Bruce said the award was the result of a team effort.

“We’ve got such an amazing team. We’re so blessed to be able to work with such a cool group of people – these guys are like our family.”

Staff from the Wairarapa Mill at Juken New Zealand [JNL] took home the Youth 2 Work Award for being a youth-friendly business.
The Gibson Sheat Award for Team went to Martinborough-based environmental consultancy Kahu Environmental.

Two tributes for service to the business community were also presented during the night.

The first went to the former chair of Business Wairarapa, Becks Sayer.

Presenting the award, MP for Wairarapa Kieran McAnulty spoke of Sayer’s dedication to the community.

“It was under her watch that the Wairarapa Awards began back in 2018,” McAnulty said. “You probably wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Becks.”

Sayer said a life of service came naturally to her.

“Growing up in a small community, my parents were on a sheep and beef farm and were often zooming off to this committee meeting and that committee meeting,” she said.

“I think it’s something that has been instilled in me by my parents. I love being part of the community and will always give back to the community I’m in.”

The second tribute went to A1 Homes Wairarapa owner Paul Southey.

Throughout his career, Southey had held many different roles within the Master Builders Association. He had also worked alongside schools and the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs initiative to help build youth relationships with employers.

Choking up in his acceptance speech, Southey said it was an honour to receive the accolade.

“We do it because of the people that are here. We do it because of our founding fathers, our business people that have come through; we do it because of the role models that you have made for us; and we do it for our youth, to give them the role models that are coming through.”

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