Manawatū Business Awards painted in three layers of positivity
WARWICK SMITH / Stuff
“I had a good night.” DH team manager Dave Hurn has made a low-key figure each of the three times he has taken the stage as a winner, including to take home the top prize.
The need for positivity, and perhaps a few drinks, was palpable as Manawatū’s business community shrugged off Covid pressure to celebrate.
The biennial Manawatū Business Awards, which returned to its glitzier roots at the Awapuni Function Center on Friday night, celebrated companies that had made their mark despite the obstacles brought by the pandemic and the rising cost of living.
The big winner of the evening was Team dh, who won the coveted Supreme Business Award after being judged as the best large company and winning the construction, manufacturing and trades category.
The paint company, which also specializes in asbestos testing and removal, was praised by the judges for its modern premises, ease of doing business, diverse workforce, commitment social media and a positive work environment for its staff.
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dh team manager Dave Hurn said the night exceeded all expectations.
“I came here to at least get feedback from the judges and see how I could improve the business.
“I’m so grateful to my staff and to come to this, I’m just overwhelmed.”
The accolades come on the heels of national recognition at the Master Painter of the Year Awards in October, where the DH team took home 13 awards.
Steve’s Tire Service in Palmerston North has won both the Small Business Award and the Spirit of Manawatū Award, which recognizes community investment and charitable giving.
In business for nearly a decade, owner Steve Deans and his team have been praised for their $10 flat tire repair initiative, with all proceeds going to Arohanui Hospice.
Deans said his wife joked that the business should have been in the not-for-profit category, but he said they believe strongly in community support.
“It’s not easy to start a business and we spent three or four years depending on my wife’s salary. But I was lucky to be mentored and to see people give things where the opportunity arose.
“We have grown to where we are today thanks to my staff who, you know, are just as passionate as I am… But most importantly, seeing the community coming back to us and supporting us is truly rewarding.”
A Lifetime Service Award went to Vicki and David Stewart, owners of Miter 10 Mega in Palmerston North.
The family bought the big-box hardware branch in 2015 after selling their longtime electrical business.
David Stewart said his family’s roots in Palmerston North retail go back to the 19th century and he would like his late father to come back for just one day to “look around him” and see what the business is up to. family had become.
Vicki Stewart shared the merits of the family’s “three S” mantra: People, Service and Stock.
The Nonprofit Business Excellence Award went to the Just Zilch Food Bank.
Upon receiving this honor, founder Rebecca Culver called for a new building so the service could expand and reach more of Manawatū’s most vulnerable residents.
Manawatū Chamber of Commerce CEO Amanda Linsley said the awards play an important role in promoting and strengthening economic development in the region, while being a showcase for other regions on “the vitality and the strength of our business community”.
The night was a sigh of relief for a business community that had been reeling from the aftermath of the pandemic. Daniel Goymer, chief sponsor Yorb’s technical director, described 2022 as “a year to remember, or perhaps forget.”
But there was hope and belief among the business leaders gathered that greener pastures awaited us in 2023.