2017 Business Award winners

“Inspiring” is how Grant Kerr, CEO of the Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce described the Nelson Pine Industries Business Awards for 2017. 

In his welcome to the huge crowd of 420 from the region’s business community, Grant said he is extremely humbled to be leading the Chamber and working with, and for, the vibrant businesses in the Nelson Tasman region.

Grant paid tribute to the entrants, judges and sponsors and reflected on the growth the region has experienced over the past 12 months.

The 2017 Award winners are:

Nelson Forests Investing in People and Skills Award: Ngāti Koata Trust
The judges were drawn to the ethos of Ngāti Koata Trust and its targeted focus on its people. Its mission statement succinctly sums up the organisations beliefs and its deliverables.  
 
NZME Customer Excellence Award: Paradise Brokers
The judges said Kenn Butler strives to ensure his clients feel valued and important, and his integrity and values are well known and highly respected. The reach and growing following that Kenn has developed is testament to his effort, integrity and commitment.

Datacom Innovation Award: Heke Homemade Herbals
Emma has shown terrific dedication and commitment to fine tune the production of teas.  It is this relentless pursuit of refining her art that the judges considered embodied the characteristics of innovation. 
 
Fairfax Media Business Start-Up Award: R&R Kayaks
The judges said R&R Kayaks demonstrates a simple yet smart success story.  It has the foundations for a sustainable and profitable future.
 
MediaWorks Small Medium Enterprise Award: Abel Tasman Canonying
The judges said this is a pioneering business for the region and New Zealand, extending into a canyoning school and initiating audit standards. Co-owner Toine Houtenbos embodies dedicated professional leadership, oversight and mentoring skills.
 
New Zealand King Salmon Large Award: Wilsons Abel Tasman
The judges said Wilsons have continued as stalwart stewards of the national park and invested their expertise, time and money in reaching out to a potential international demand, justifying their position as a stellar star for the Abel Tasman.

Vodafone Special Award for Large Business Excellence: McCraes Blinds and Screens
As there can only be one winner in each category the judges decided this year to take the unusual step of creating an additional award in recognition of a particularly excellent business. In short, this a success story – from garage to greatness on the tenacity and dedication of Annette and Shane McCrae.

Nelson Pine Industries Supreme Business Award: Abel Tasman Canyons
In the judges’ opinion this business ticks all the boxes. It is an adventure company grounded on absolutely professionalism across all areas. Health and safety is afforded the highest priority with staff training and development entrenched within the management of the business.

The judges were impressed with the marketing plan which is targeted and focused. It is clearly paying dividends with a customer service record second to none as evidenced by the 100 percent 5 star Trip Advisor reviews.

Co-owner Toine Houtenbos displays impressive leadership skills and is one of only 8 canyoning guides in the world qualified at trainer level by the International Canyoning Organisation for Professionals. He is one of only 3 canyoning assessors in New Zealand, founded the NZ Canyoning School and was at the forefront of national standards and qualifications

Abel Tasman Canyons is a business well deserving of this esteemed award and should be congratulated for showcasing our region with such professionalism, fun and vitality.