We’re hiring!

We’re looking for two superstars to fill vacancies at the Chamber. 

We’re seeking a Communications Manager to help promote the Chamber’s role of unlocking business potential for our hundreds of members in Nelson Tasman, and a Business Support Coordinator to provide assistance with export documentation, Chamber finances and general office support.

With a new Chief Executive coming on board in mid-February, this an exciting time to be joining this small, dynamic team.

Click here to view the position descriptions.

To apply, send your CV and cover letter, stating clearly which role you are applying for, to Ru Collin (Acting Chief Executive) –

Applications close at 5pm on Friday 8 February

Ali Boswijk announced as new Chamber CEO

The Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce Board is pleased to announce Ali Boswijk has been appointed to lead the Chamber.

President Lees Seymour said the Chamber had conducted two rigorous recruitment processes, with a focus on taking as much time as necessary to select the right person for the role. 

“Overall we have been really impressed with the calibre of applicants, and we are confident that Ali is well placed to lead the Chamber into its next phase”. 

Ali has lived in Nelson for 22 years and during that time has worked in both the public and private sector.

A communications specialist with over thirty years-experience, Ali started her working career with London-based, international news agency, WTN. Since then, has worked with a wide range of organisations from large international Blue-Chip companies and start-ups, to governments and NGOs. In recent years she has moved increasingly into positions of strategy development and taken on a number of governance roles. The most significant of these was as a Councillor with Nelson City Council, and in her second term she was appointed Deputy Mayor. 

Since 2012 she has worked on international projects for World of WearableArt (WOW), and in recent years has held the position of Head of International Projects and Business Development. In this role, she has been responsible for, among other things, delivery of all WOW activity in oversea markets including a successful exhibition that has been touring since 2014 and is currently in St Petersburg, Russia.

The Nelson Tasman Chamber Chief Executive will continue to work closely with the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce as part of a ‘top of the south’ approach on issues affecting the wider region, however will not be required to lead the Marlborough team as well. 

“At our recent review the joint steering committee recognised the need to adjust the resource sharing agreement with Marlborough one year on” said Lees. “The Nelson Tasman Chamber has successfully assisted the Marlborough Chamber to lift their presence, refresh their brand and improve their membership value offerings, and they are now well placed to continue this work on their own. We’ve developed a great working relationship and will continue to collaborate on key issues affecting the top of the south”. 

Lees thanked Chamber Board Vice President Ru Collin for stepping into the CEO role in an acting capacity since September. “Ru has overseen a particularly busy period for the Chamber team, with the move to the Mahitahi Colab and the highly successful 30th anniversary of the annual Business Awards, and we’re grateful to him for stepping in during this interim period”. 

Ali will take up her new role on Monday 18 February 2019. Ru will stay on until the end of February to assist with handover. 

Energy Savings


Energy savings a new offering from the Chamber

Spending $1500 or more on your electricity or gas?

Last year Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce entered into a partnership with Saveawatt, an energy procurement company. Their market knowledge and in-depth analysis means that they’re well positioned to find the best deals to suit the specific energy needs of businesses. Their ‘bulk tender’ process means that by joining in, 25 energy retailers across New Zealand are put on notice of your potential custom. Saveawatt’s ‘No savings/No fee’ offer means they only get paid if they negotiate savings for your business. Their one-off procurement fee is 25% of total projected cost savings.

Why is my Chamber of Commerce involved?

Two reasons:

  1. We exist to unlock business vitality in Nelson Tasman, and many of our members face set costs that are prohibitive to growth. Saveawatt procures real cost savings on gas and electricity and that’s positive for the business community. There are already businesses in Nelson Tasman benefitting from this service.
  2. Savewatt would be servicing this region regardless of Chamber involvement. This partnership offers a funding opportunity for the Chamber as we get a small margin of the one-off fee charged by Saveawatt. (Remember, they only charge this fee if they secure the savings). This additional revenue opportunity though modest, still helps us fund the work we do locally in unlocking business vitality; the membership and business support services we provide, business upskilling workshops, advocacy, networking events, business awards and the many workstreams involved in delivery.

How can I save?

Even if you already have a contract, Saveawatt may be able to help you.
If you’re spending $1500 or more per month on gas or electricity, it’s as simple as supplying us with copy of a recent energy account and we’ll liaise with Savewatt to see if they can save you money on your energy rates. 

Email a copy of a recent power account to:



Proposed changes to temporary work visas

Just before Christmas the NZ government published an all-important Cabinet Paper on proposed changes to temporary work visas, inviting submissions by 5pm, 18 March 2019.
At a very high level, here is what employers and migrant workers can expect in the future:

  • more paperwork, red tape and fees for employers
  • even more focus on employer compliance with immigration and employment law
  • tougher labour market tests particularly for the low-skilled occupations as well as those industries that are heavily reliant on migrant labour
  • even greater scrutiny of roles to ensure no abuse of the immigration system

Overall, these proposed changes could mean that employers would have a much higher onus to provide information in preparation of employing migrant workers. As part of this process, employers would need to demonstrate to Immigration New Zealand that they have good track records and comply with New Zealand’s employment and immigration laws.
Here is a link to the Govt’s summary of the proposals:
We encourage employers to carefully review the Government’s proposed changes and to participate in the consultation process. Pitt & Moore Lawyers are happy to assist employers with the preparation of written submissions. For more information contact Nick Mason, Associate Pitt & Moore Lawyers 03 548 8349 or

Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce submission on the Nelson Tasman Future Development Strategy

February 2019


This submission is made on behalf of the members of the Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has approximately 500 members in Nelson and Tasman. This submission is based on current and long-held views of our members obtained through a series of surveys run by the Chamber, and by asking members directly for their views on this strategy.

As the independent voice for business in the region, the Chamber’s role is help members unlock their vitality by advocating for the right economic settings to enable them to grow their businesses.

The submission on future development is based on several factors important to the chamber;

  • An effective local government.
  • Adequate infrastructure to support current needs and for future developments.
  • Preservation of natural landscape.


 Which of the following are most important to the Chamber in considering urban settlement and growth in the region? Please select your top five:

  • An effective local government.
  • Preservation of natural landscapes.
  • Better road/transportation connections.
  • Ensuring that new development does not place people at risk from natural hazards, like flooding.
  • Smart infrastructure/technology enabled.

Further commentary:

The Chamber is positive about the projected future growth of the region, as it represents opportunities for our members. However, we know that our members have long held concerns over inadequate infrastructure (transport and the Waimea Dam) so any future growth plans would need to be supported by upgraded and new infrastructure to cope with increased demand.

Attracting new businesses to the region is an important part of economic growth, and good transport infrastructure is an important factor when considering doing business in a region. We know that existing constraints on the transport network have led to delays affecting freight, tourism, business and residential growth. An increasing number of extreme weather events have shown the vulnerability of SH6 and its susceptibility to closure.

We also know our members want to see our natural resources protected and enhanced, particularly the foreshore and marina, and high-quality productive land in Tasman.

Finally, we also know many of our members struggle to attract staff, particularly young people, due to the perception around career opportunities and progression and ‘sunshine wages’. If housing is unaffordable this will also be a factor in whether someone decides to relocate to Nelson Tasman.

Growth scenarios

  1. Should the Councils focus on growth on the outskirts of existing urban areas and settlements? Why or why not?

The Chamber is supportive of growth on the outskirts of existing urban areas and settlements provided there is already adequate or planned infrastructure in place. Too much urban sprawl will add to network congestion and pressure on infrastructure.

The Chamber is of the view there should be no new growth in areas already vulnerable to extreme weather events and rising sea levels.

  1. Should the Councils focus growth in and around existing centers? Why or why not?

 This is the Chamber’s preferred approach for managing growth from the perspective of making it easier to do business for our members.

Infill housing, town houses and terrace housing provides a range of living accommodation, and could help to address affordability, helping to attract more skilled workers to the region. It also avoids too much urban sprawl and network congestion, helping the region’s many primary industries get their goods to market more efficiently along transport corridors. The Chamber fully supports the sentiment that the economic wellbeing and safety of the region’s residents is dependent on an efficient and effective transport network.

Our members have also expressed a desire to see a vibrant Nelson CBD. This can be assisted by focusing growth in and around Nelson City, and intensifying accommodation in the town center, encouraging people to live and work nearby. It will also assist the retail and hospitality industries with more people choosing to do business in the CBD as a matter of convenience.

The Chamber supports this option provided the Councils ensure ageing infrastructure is upgraded and can cope with increased demand in existing centers.

  1. Should the Councils focus growth in new settlements? Why or why not?

This is the Chamber’s least preferred option. Our concern with creating new townships or settlements is the impact on our natural environment, and the potential removal of highly productive land in favour of new development.

As per the response to the previous growth scenarios, the Chamber is concerned about the impact on transport networks and the substantial investment required to create adequate services and infrastructure to support new settlements.

The Chamber is of the view that creating new settlements is unnecessary when there are existing areas that can be better utilised for residential and business growth.


The Chamber supports the approach of focusing growth in and around existing settlements, and in principal supports growth on the outskirts of existing settlements provided there will be adequate transport networks and development infrastructure to cope with the additional growth.

The Chamber would be interested in sharing with its members how both Councils intend to work together to manage the growth, the investment required in infrastructure and the congestion in and out of their respective jurisdictions.

Ru Collin

Acting Chief Executive.

Jan 2019.



Display your artwork at the Mahitahi Colab!

Are you a budding or established artist looking for somewhere to display your work? We’re putting the finishing touches on the shared space in the Mahitahi Colab and we’d love to collaborate with you.

The Mahitahi Colab is about working together to support and inspire clever business, innovation and talent in Nelson Tasman, and was founded by the Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce, Nelson Regional Development Agency and the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology.

We’re looking for three art pieces to display in three of our shared space meeting rooms that help to tell the story of the Nelson Tasman region. We need one piece to showcase Nelson Tasman’s stunning natural landscapes, one piece to demonstrate our clever business community and a piece to represent the region’s diversity.

Each artwork must be able to be hung on the wall (rather than freestanding), and be restricted to dimensions of no more than 1m x 1m. There are colour requirements for each piece of artwork required (as detailed in the terms and conditions).

The winning pieces will be displayed in the meeting rooms with details of the artist for up to six months, unless sold prior.

All entrants will be required to submit your artwork to the Mahitahi Colab by 14 February 2019, with the winners announced in early March 2019. An independent judge will be announced in the new year to review the entries and select the winners. There will also be a great prize on offer for the winners.

So get creative over summer and submit your work! Any questions, please contact Ru Collin at the Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce – or 548 1363.

Terms and conditions:

The three art pieces should meet the following requirements: 

  • An art piece (able to be hung on the wall) that showcases the Nelson Tasman region’s stunning natural landscape(s). Can include any range of materials, but must not exceed 1m squared in size. This is to be hung in The Janszoon Room at the Mahitahi Colab (colour theme of room is Teal CMYK: 80-0-20-0, RGB: 0-183-206, Pantone 312 – would be great if this colour was incorporated somehow).






  • An art piece (able to be hung on the wall) that showcases Nelson Tasman’s Clever Business community. Can include any range of materials, but must not exceed 1m squared in size. This is to be hung in The Ernest Rutherford Room at the Mahitahi Colab (colour theme of room is Green CMYK: 30-0-100-0, RGB: 191-215-48, Pantone 389 – would be great if this colour was incorporated somehow).






  • An art piece (able to be hung on the wall) that showcases Nelson Tasman’s diversity – in terms of community and/or business. Can include any range of materials, but must not exceed 1m squared in size. This is to be hung in The Braeburn Room at the Mahitahi Colab (colour theme of room is Red CMYK: 3-98-94-0, RGB: 231-38-43, Pantone 179 – would be great if this colour was incorporated somehow). Chamber members and non-members are welcome to enter, but must be 18 years and older. 





Multiple entries are allowed.

The tenants of the Mahitahi Colab will not be responsible for your artwork other than ensuring it is securely hung on the wall, and all reasonable security measures will be taken to ensure the Mahitahi Colab is secure during business and after hours.

Art pieces selected for display will be hung for a maximum of six months unless otherwise agreed by the artist and the Mahitahi Colab Board.

Give us your feedback

It’s really important to the team here at the Chamber that we continue to deliver membership value to you, and we’d like to know what you think.

We’ve put together a brief survey asking for your views on Chamber membership.

Every member who completes the survey can opt to go into the prize draw of a $200 travel voucher courtesy of our Cornerstone Partner Air New Zealand (terms and conditions apply).

The survey should take you less than 10 minutes, and we’re only asking for your name if you’d like to go into the prize draw.

We’ll be closing the survey on Monday 17 December and announcing the lucky winner on Tuesday 18 December in our weekly e-newsletter.

Thanks in advance, your honest feedback is very valuable to us.

Take the survey here



Orange Dog is 2018 Supreme Business Winner

2018 Nelson Pine Industries Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce Business Awards Winners

2018 Supreme Business Winner Orange Dog

The winners in the 2018 Nelson Pine Industries Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce Business Award winners have been described by the judges as “caring as much for our people as their do their bottom line”.

The strong theme of wishing to do community or environmental came through at the annual Business Awards across all the categories, according to the independent judging panel.

This year was the 30th anniversary of the Chamber of Commerce Business Awards, so it was only fitting that the overall major sponsor of the Awards was Nelson Pine Industries, who won the inaugural Supreme Business Award in 1988.

Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce Acting CEO Ru Collin said the Awards evening was a wonderful reflection of the region’s diverse and thriving business community.

“We’re very proud of the 30 year history of the Awards. The evening itself is always a great opportunity to celebrate the great things that business does for our community.

“This year also marks 160 years of the Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce. We’ve been around for a long period of time, helping to shape the region into what it is today”.

This year the Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce introduced new categories to mark the 30th anniversary of the Awards, and to reflect all aspects of business excellence. These included:

  • Datacom Clever Business Award
  • New Zealand King Salmon Community Impact Award
  • Wakatū Incorporation Young Business Person of the Year
  • Nelson Forests Ltd Business Person of the Year

39 entries and nominations were received across all categories. Nominations for Business Person and Young Business Person of the Year were whittled down to five finalists in each category which then went out to public vote. More than 4,000 votes were received.

In addition, two members of the Nelson Tasman business community were inducted into the Chamber’s Hall of Fame. Recipients of the Hall of Fame award are recognised for their long-standing commitment and involvement with the Chamber, the business community and the wider Nelson Tasman community.

The 2018 Award winners are:


The Winner is Orange Dog.

The judges were impressed with this clever local business. Orange Dog developed their own market where none existed before and they have continued to expand it.

This involves research and development at significant effort along the way. They provide outstanding customer service with innovative business practices…. the judges called this business a true kiwi success story.

There is a great staff culture and it is a fun place to work. Civic care is an important part of the culture, for example their ‘Scooter survivor’ programme, and they also identify charities that fit with their culture (for example Nelson Ark and volleyball).


The winner is Hemisphere Health.

Hemisphere Health is taking the visionary approach to occupational health and safety.

The judges admired the business for providing a wraparound service with the objective of getting people in the Nelson Tasman region back to work.


The winner is Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nelson-Tasman (BBBS).

The demand for what BBBS offer in our community is very strong, and essential to our community health.

The strong board leadership assists the organisation’s success, with the staff being driven, efficient and passionate about providing successful relationships between mentors and mentees.

The social return to the community is eighteen times every dollar spent.
The objective was clearly articulated and understood by the BBBS team, and the procedures and policies that support this are evident in their success.


The winner is Orange Dog.

Orange Dog created their own market where previously one didn’t exist.
The business now has a number of competitors but continue to deepen their existing customer base through innovation and identifying what their customers need.

Orange Dog export outside the region and into Australia while employing 13 locals to do so.


The winner is Crombie Lockwood Nelson.

Crombie Lockwood is the deserved winner of this award due to the character of the people and their desire to improve.

Crombie Lockwood Nelson stood out for their transformation story and pursuit of excellence in their field, both at the firm and at the individual levels. Within the Nelson Tasman community they have established a strong local identity focused on partnerships within the region.


The winner is Volunteer Nelson.

The benefits to our community of all entrants in this category is immense. The judges hope that all present at the awards take the time to thank, celebrate and where possible look to help the entrants in this category and all their peer charities. We are a better community because of them.

The judges felt that despite the relatively low profile, Volunteer Nelson has the greatest reach into so many areas of our community. They are the ‘busiest, behind the scenes organisation you might never have heard of’.


The winner is Nelson Weekly Ltd.

Nelson Weekly Ltd ticked all the boxes in regards to added value to the region through their Nelson App. Digital innovation was identified as a way to move their business forward to become the leading media organisation in the top of the south.


Benjamin Clark, Master Jeweller, Benjamin Black Goldsmiths

Benjamin is a young and talented jeweller and entrepreneur, who launched Benjamin Black Goldsmiths in 2013 alongside his partner Amy.

Over the past five years they have built a Deloitte Fast 50 award-winning business manufacturing, retailing and wholesaling jewellery to domestic and international markets.

Driven by Benjamin’s vision to help people leave a legacy, Benjamin Black Goldsmiths works with people around New Zealand and the world, creating custom, personalised jewellery that is made by hand and made to last for generations.

His diverse approach to business has included implementing multiple revenue streams, including the introduction of a sister brand, Black Matter Jewellery.

Catering to a niche market, Black Matter has very quickly grown in popularity, most recently being picked up by a leading department store in New Zealand and international buyers in New York.

Benjamin is a proficient business person with a humble nature and exciting future ahead.


Pic Picot, Pic’s Peanut Butter

In 2007, Pic Picot, a visually impaired 55-year-old, began making peanut butter in his garage and selling it at the Nelson Market.

The company now employs 45 people across three Nelson locations, produces 20,000 jars of peanut butter daily and its premium peanut butter is sold in 13 countries, including China and the USA.

In 2015 Picot Productions was overall winner of the Commerce Nelson Business Awards, and in 2019 Pic was made a member of the NZ Order of Merit for services to business.

Pic’s Peanut Butter World, a 4000m2 purpose-built factory and visitor experience will be opening in Saxton Road early 2019.


Posthumous Award – Terry McCashin
Chris Bowater


A link to official photos will be provided here soon.

Seeking your views on advocacy issues

The Chamber’s five pillar strategy, rolled out in late 2017, concentrated on refreshing our approach across the Nelson Tasman region. Events and luncheons were increased, and we have seen more networking between members. We continue to advance our trade and membership value aims. The next pillar is advocating for our members.

The Chamber will be looking to lift its advocacy over the coming year, however we need to ensure Chamber advocacy is focused, and represents the views of our members. Throughout October and into November 2018 we are looking for your views on broad areas that affect your business. Topics include information, environment, infrastructure, people, opportunities that could increase our competitive advantage, and science, research and innovation. We know your time is valuable, so the questionnaires should take you less than five minutes to complete.

Once the survey series is complete we will compile the results and identify the key topics of most interest to most of our members, and summarise them in our December issue of Commerce Comment and across our other communication channels.

You are welcome to complete the surveys at any time until the series closes in November. The survey links will be added below as they are created.

Survey one: Nelson Tasman infrastructure

Survey two: Regional information

Survey three: People – attraction, retention and development

Survey four: Business and the environment

Survey five: Science, research and technology

The Chamber has moved to Mahitahi Colab

The Mahitahi Colab, located at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology, is about working collaboratively to support and inspire clever business and talent.

The Mahitahi Colab will provide an extraordinary location for existing and aspiring clever businesses to easily connect with local and national business development, and create opportunities to nurture and develop talent.
It will help to build a more connected ecosystem by creating stronger links between clever business, investors, researchers, business development providers, government and the education sector, in order to influence and inspire economic development in the region.

The Chamber is one of three founding partners of the Mahitahi Colab, along with the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology and the Nelson Regional Development Agency. We will be working more closely with our partners to help support the growth of the Nelson Tasman region.

In addition to the founding partners, a range of key public good focused businesses and talent development organisations have been invited to be part of the Mahitahi Colab.

The Mahitahi Colab has been designed to include a range of collaboration facilities, including:

  • access to the business and talent development service providers
  • access to a range of events designed to support and inspire business growth, innovation and education in Nelson Tasman
  • collaborative shared working spaces
  • a range of event and meeting spaces
  • access to NMIT graduate students for projects and intern work placements

Some benefits of the Mahitahi Colab are already being realised, with an NMIT graduate and a current NMIT student engaged by the Colab partners to provide the interior design fit out and branding and design. This provides the students with valuable project work experience.

So drop in and visit us any time, and experience the Mahitahi Colab shared working space. You can find us by coming to the main entrance of the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology at 322 Hardy Street.

Find out more about the Mahitahi Colab here.