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Local businesses called to enter 2017 Ignite Wanaka Business Awards

Local businesses called to enter 2017 Ignite Wanaka Business Awards

16 August 2017. For immediate release

Wanaka’s flourishing business community has another opportunity to celebrate success with the launch of this year’s Ignite Wanaka Business Awards.

Entries to the Ignite Wanaka Business Awards in partnership with Milford Asset Management open today, alongside the announcement of two new categories and a new convenor of the independent judging panel.

The 2017 awards follow on from the hugely successful inaugural awards and gala dinner, which took place last November at Rippon Hall. After the 2017 awards, the event will be held every two years.

Wanaka resident Bill Day – founder of multi-million-dollar business Seaworks and a past winner of Ernst & Young’s New Zealand Entrepreneur of the Year – is the new convenor of judges.

Day says he’s excited to lead the independent judging panel for the 2017 awards and looks forward to reading entries packed with inspiration and innovation.

“What’s so special about this place is that people want to live in Wanaka because it’s the best place in the world – and because they’re so determined to be here, they actively search for ways to enable them to stay here. That means they come up with some amazing solutions and translate that into business,” he explains.

Judges will be looking for businesses demonstrating passion as well as proving they’re doing something different to their competitors in a way that creates value.

“Entrepreneurship is a tough game and the thing that gets you up in the morning is the fact that you love what you’re doing and you really, really want success. We’re looking for examples of businesses delivering the quality of the experience for consumers. That can come through doing something ordinary in an extraordinary way, or sheer innovation to deliver a better result,” Day adds.

The independent judging panel consists of five high-profile and successful businesspeople living in the Wanaka region. Day is joined by Anne Urlwin, a business consultant and current director of Chorus Ltd, Steel & Tube Holdings Ltd, Naylor Love and Summerset Holdings Group Ltd; Tarras-based director and lawyer Giselle McLachlan – CEO of local business Landpro Ltd and director of the H&J Smith Group; Mark Verbiest – an experienced company director and winner of the inaugural Ignite Wanaka Business Awards Outstanding Individual category; and legal consultant Wayne Hudson, who has spent the past 30 years in the technology business sector.

Also new for this year is the Outstanding in Sustainability category, sponsored by Queenstown and Wanaka Airports, plus a People’s Choice Award – an award voted for by the entire Wanaka community. Details about the People’s Choice Award will be released in the coming weeks.

Ignite Wanaka chairman Alistair King says the Chamber is excited to facilitate such an important occasion for the local business community.

“We were overwhelmed by the great feedback from last year. Celebrating success of businesses in Wanaka is a key part of what Ignite Wanaka does. Seeing people from all walks of business at the Awards night was testimony to the interest the awards gained in just a short space of time.

“We want to continue the excitement and momentum gained from last year and give the many other businesses who couldn’t enter last year the opportunity to enter again. After this year the Awards will be held every two years, so this is people’s last chance to enter until 2019,” King says.

Categories are: Outstanding in Infrastructure/Trades, Outstanding in Professional Services, Outstanding in Tourism, Outstanding in Retail/Hospitality, Outstanding Innovators, Outstanding in Sustainability, People’s Choice Award, Outstanding Individual and the Supreme Business Award. Entries close on September 28 at 4pm, with finalists announced on October 11. The Awards Gala Dinner takes place at Rippon Hall on November 10.

There is no cost to enter the awards. All entries are confidential and only viewed by the independent judging panel. Further details are available here.


About the judges

Bill Day (Convenor of the Judging Panel)
Bill started his multi-million-dollar business, Seaworks, in 1979 as a commercial dive company. Today Bill’s marine contracting company has its own fleet of vessels. The company lays under-sea cables, runs underwater robots, salvages sunken vessels, inspects oil rigs around the world and, more recently, has managed the marine work for Steven Spielberg movies. Bill Day was chosen as Winner of Ernst & Young’s New Zealand Entrepreneur of the Year in September 2000 and in 2002 he returned to Monaco as one of the judges for the 2002 World Entrepreneur of the Year competition. Bill resides in Wanaka.

Anne Urlwin
A chartered accountant, business consultant and professional director, Anne’s current Directorships include Chorus Ltd, Steel & Tube Holdings Ltd, Naylor Love and Summerset Group Holdings Ltd. Anne is also Deputy Chairman of Southern Response Earthquake Services Ltd (formerly AMI Insurance). Anne has considerable business experience –  her former roles include Chairman of Lakes Environmental Ltd and the New Zealand Blood Service, and serving as a Director of Meridian Energy Ltd and Airways Corporation NZ Ltd.Anne is a Wanaka resident.

Mark Verbiest
Mark Verbiest is an experienced company director, serving as the chairman of Spark NZ. He is also a director of ANZ Bank New Zealand Limited, Meridian Energy Limited and Freightways Limited, Chairman of Willis Bond Capital Partners Limited and Willis Bond General Partner Limited, a member of the Advisory Board to the New Zealand Treasury, and is a former board member of the Financial Markets Authority. He is also a trustee of the Southern Lakes Arts Festival Trust and a consultant to national law firm Simpson Grierson. Mark has a law degree from Victoria University of Wellington. Mark’s experience in the telecommunications sector extends over more than a decade, including seven-and-a-half years on Spark’s senior executive team from 2000.

Giselle McLachlan
Giselle has a legal and governance background, with business experience from a variety of perspectives. She lives in Tarras and has recently taken on a newly-created CEO role with Landpro Ltd, based in Cromwell.  Giselle has served on a number of boards, including the H&J Smith Group.  She enjoys helping people and businesses to grow and succeed.

Wayne Hudson
Wayne Hudson has spent the last 30 years focusing on the technology business sector, advising on commercialising intellectual property, buying and selling tech businesses, capital-raising and structuring start-up businesses. He is a legal consultant through his company WHIPIT Limited, which assists technology start-up companies prepare for growth, investment and sale. Wayne is also the Wanaka Ski and Snowsports Club president.


For more information, please contact:
Alistair King, Ignite Wanaka chairman – 027 445 0783
Bill Day, Ignite Wanaka Business Awards Convenor of Judges – 021 942 540

Celia Crosbie
Written by Celia Crosbie
Celia is an award-winning former journalist who has worked for newspapers and radio stations in New Zealand and magazines in the United Kingdom. She has worked in public relations in both NZ and London. Celia also specialises in digital media strategy and website copywriting for SEO.