Community Projects and Collaboration

Town wins big at Business Awards

Isaac Gunson -Te Puke Business Excellence Awards 2018

Written by Isaac Gunson – Isaac was the Head Boy of Te Puke High School in 2017, and is currently studying Journalism at the New Zealand Broadcasting School.
Photos here:

Diversity, innovation, success, development and growth.

Five words that Lance Ewen from Bennetts Proactive used to describe the Te Puke Business Excellence Awards tonight. The accounting firm served as a principle sponsor of the Awards this year. Friday night’s event was the twelfth Business Awards night organised by Te Puke Economic Development Group. Proceedings opened with a five-minute video, showing footage from across the Bay of Plenty, and how the goodness that grows is taken across the country and the world.

Much of the night, however, was focussed on goodness that has come into the town’s culture, with decorations and catering honouring the Sikh community. The evening’s events were split up by three meals – an entrée, a main course and a dessert. The entrée was a delightful helping of chicken tikka, chilli chicken and vegetable balls alongside samosas. The main course suffered from an unfortunate table collapse behind the scenes, but the catering crew recovered graciously and quickly. The menu boasted an array of various curries – from the classic Butter Chicken to the exclusive B52 Lamb Curry, before closing the evening’s cuisine with milk balls and chocolate cake for dessert.

With a focus on local history, the opening video also showed Te Puke’s location at the heart of the Bay of Plenty, and just why Captain James Cook named the region the Bay of Plenty. This video was then backed up by emcee Kirt Russell, saying “…we are at the best place, not only in the country but in the world.”

Kirt’s 20+ year history in radio was on full display as she kept the evening running at a sharp but lively pace.  Ms. Richards was joined by an assemblage of guest presenters and speakers, including Mark Boyle from Te Puke EDG, and Lance Ewen, who both commenced proceedings.

Sir Gordon Tietjens also joined the programme as a guest speaker, speaking of his history coaching the All Blacks Seven’s and parallels between sport and business. Mr. Tietjens’ spokes of how both business and sport revolve around values like honesty, respect, humility and leadership. He’s a believer in the ‘team’ acronym – “together everyone achieves more” – and believes that victories don’t come with the best players, but the best teams.

The awards are as follows:

Service award – Presented by Stephen Butler and sponsored by Trevelyan’s

Winner: Dobson’s

Food and Beverage Award – Presented by Chris Boudet and Brenda Littlejohn and sponsored by Bupa

Winner: The Daily Café

Retail Award – Presented by Mayor Gary Webber and sponsored by the WBOPDC

Winner: Jenny Wotten, NZ Parliamentary Services

New Emerging Award – Presented by Hon. Todd McClay and sponsored by Te Puke EDG

Winner: Kansai Sushi

Agricultural, Horticultural and Industrial Award – Presented by Ricky Hann and sponsored by Zespri

Winner: Jellicoe Industrial Park

Supreme Award – Presented by Lance Ewens and sponsored by Bennetts Proactive

Jellicoe Industrial Park

A highlight of the evening was a special presentation got given to Dez and Shirley McGregor, who came to Te Puke in 1960 to purchase a grocery business on Jellicoe Street. They have since gone from strength to strength, playing a major role in the Te Puke business community with the Te Puke Hotel, and the couple received a standing ovation in acknowledgement of their 58 years of service and business life.

A number of nominees received frequent mentions, including The Daily, Aberdeen Christmas Shed, and Vector Group Youth and Community [nominated in three categories]. Nonetheless, there is no doubt that the real winners of Te Puke’s business sector are the member of the community, who get to enjoy the incredible and quality services offered on a daily basis.

Photography by Vector Group – Reuben Foote and Summer Fawcett (youth) and Steve Fawcett.


About Vector Group

Vision: A community where diversity is celebrated, and every person feels included. Mission: To create opportunities for healthy connections and self-expression. To support people who work with young people, and thereby enhance youth engagement and development and creatives so that young people thrive.