Jenkins Freshpac Systems walked off with the top accolade at this year’s Westpac Tauranga Business Awards, which had an overriding focus on innovation, reinforcing a theme that has been developing in recent events.
Jenkins Freshpac also won the Embracing Digital Technology and the Service Excellence Awards, as well as making the finals in the Customer Experience and Workplace Safety Awards. (Please see the accompanying table for details of all winners and finalists).
Jenkins Freshpac opened a new purpose-built facility in Tauriko in 2013, when it relocated to Tauranga. The company has built a strong position across the horticultural sector for its sophisticated labelling and packaging technology and services. The award-winner is a wholly owned subsidiary of the privately owned Jenkins Group, a Kiwi company with a tradition of innovation spanning more than 135 years, a service network throughout New Zealand and Australia, and well-established international relationships.
The judging panel – led by Vodafone’s Andrew Hitchfield – noted that Jenkins Freshpac was the clear market leader in labelling and packaging horticultural products.
“It has been able to keep out larger competitors that are more resourced by focusing on its expertise and superior service offering,” said the judges.
Locally, the company works with all the large kiwifruit packhouses and Zespri – as well as other leading horticultural producers – to ensure that processed fruit is labelled and packaged fit for market. Given the volume of packing during the kiwifruit season, the company’s round- the-clock technical service is critical to ensure its machines run with minimal downtime.
Jenkins Freshpac chief executive Jamie Lunam told Bay of Plenty Business News the company had been working hard over the last decade to develop its product offering to deliver a focused and specialised full product and service suite to the New Zealand horticulture sector.
“This comes with all sorts of challenges and strains along the way and the team has worked incredibly hard to get to where we are at,” he said.
“The awards are an outstanding and humbling nod to the team in recognition to having pulled it off with class. I am incredibly proud of how far the team has come.”
Event organisers the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce again saw a capacity crowd at Bay Arena for the awards, which are now heading into their third decade. Chamber chief executive Stan Gregec said there had been a very high standard of entrants, with a strong focus on technology, particularly in the kiwifruit sector.
“The strength of the awards sits with the high calibre of judges who all put in hours of time and expertise to visit each entrant,” said Gregec.
“Their feedback on their assessment is regarded as one of the strong benefits to entering the awards.”
Seeka wins Corporate Leadership award
The Corporate Leadership Award this year went to Seeka, New Zealand’s largest kiwifruit grower and specialised supply chain management company, with operations around New Zealand and in Australia.
“The company also faced tough economic conditions when PSA devastated the kiwifruit sector, but has come out the other side with renewed vigour and a drive to become more than just a kiwifruit service company,” the judges said.
Seeka is one of the largest post-harvest companies in New Zealand, operating in Bay of Plenty, Northland, Coromandel and the East Coast, and is the largest kiwifruit grower in Australasia.
The company packs kiwifruit, avocados and kiwiberry primarily for export. It is crucial that fruit is packed efficiently to ensure that it arrives in pristine condition so that growers can achieve high prices. Seeka packs around 20 percent of New Zealand’s export kiwifruit and is the largest provider of management services for kiwifruit orchards.
Seeka chief executive Michael Franks said he was appreciative of the award.
“Our growth as a company is a combined effort,” Franks said.
“We have a great team of inspirational people who stand out from the crowd and think of new ways to deliver quality products and services. Seeka is proud of the team’s contribution, but would like to acknowledge that without the world-class growers we work with and for, we would never have achieved this level of success.
“We also recognise those local businesses and contractors supporting our organisation. The award is a huge honour for everybody’s hard work.”
Creating wealth, goods and services
Leader of the opposition and Tauranga MP for the past decade, Simon Bridges, acknowledged the excellence of the businesses represented at the awards.
“Every day you have to perform and provide the customers with exactly what they want or you won’t survive,” he said.
“You need to have grit, determination and to have the vision for success. There’s no magic money tree for any government in politics – it comes from you and the hard work you put in to create wealth and goods and services. And you go above and beyond that to provide what our community requires.”
Range of talented businesses
Voyager Group won this year’s Manufacturing and/or Distribution category. The company is New Zealand’s leading supplier of luggage and travel accessories. Designed in New Zealand and manufactured offshore, Voyage’s goal was to ensure its customers luggage made the journey safely. Voyager’s design team specialises in developing ranges that reflect the best and latest in local and international thinking.
Good Local, a bar and restaurant focused on providing quality food, service and value for money to Pyes Pa locals, won the Tourism & Hospitality Award. Started by Mark and Mel Lawrence, who have a lengthy background in hospitality, having owned businesses on The Strand, relocated to Pyes Pa where they offer a range of Hamilton brewery Good George’s craft beer and cider on tap.
Road Safe Traffic Management won the Emerging Business Award Road Safe Traffic Management is owned and operated by Logan Dawson. With more than a decade’s experience in the traffic management industry, he and his wife formed the company after relocating to Tauranga. Today, the business has a 14-strong team, backed by seven traffic management trucks and specialist
Papamoa’s Fashion Island won the Retail Excellence Award. The popular outdoor shopping centre features a blend of high street fashion, outlet and lifestyle stores. Shoppers can access everything from new season’s looks at leading fashion stores such as Max, Jacqui E, Just Jeans, Dotti, NZSale, Merric, Jay Jays, Portmans and Elim, as well as outlet stores for Bendon, Amazon, Thanks and Brands.
The Social Enterprises Award went to the Graeme Dingle Foundation’s Bay of Plenty arm. Originally founded as a charity in1995, the foundation established its Bay branch in 2004. The charity runs the Kiwi Can, Stars and Project K school-based programmes, helping 3200 young people in the region every year.
Tauranga Veterinary Services, led by managing director David McDonnell, won the Customer Experience Award. The community-focused company now has clinics in Tauranga, Papamoa, Te Puna and Katikati.
Little Big Events won the Business Innovation Award. Founded by Rachel and Chris Duffy, who originally began with the launch of the Little Big Markets in the Mount in 2009. Little Big Events now runs a range of community-focused events across the city.
It aims to help people become more aware of their abilities to be involved in building a confident and vibrant community. Little Big Events’ latest proiect is Our Place, the temporary container market in the CBD.
The winner of the Workplace Safety Award was Waikato and BOP Suspended Ceiling Services – also known as the “Good Buggers.” The company specialises in complete commercial fit outs delivered by professionally qualified tradespeople. Mark and Rachel Pepperell started in business 30 years ago and now have more than 70 staff working over two branches in Tauranga and Hamilton. They are involved in many of the region’s major fitouts, including the new University of Waikato campus in Tauranga.
Westpac area commercial manager Clare Basire said the bank was proud to be associated with an event that recognised outstanding business achievement.
“The Westpac Tauranga Business Awards have always been about taking time out to acknowledge business excellence – this is about recognising the smartest, strongest and most sustainable businesses in the community. Congratulations to the winners – we’re sure this is a stepping stone to even greater business success.”