ANZ Business of the Year Award winners fly high

Published: 23 February 2024

Ōpuke Thermal Pools and Spa, sourced by the mountains and powered by the sun, has been crowned the Ashburton District's supreme winner at the ANZ Business of the Year Awards 2024.

The new and hugely successful tourism business opened in November 2021 and more than 100,000 people visited in its first year. It has grown from strength to strength, helping drive tourism in Methven and in the whole district.

Ashburton District Deputy Mayor Liz McMillan announced the supreme winner at the business awards gala dinner at the Ashburton Aviation Museum on Friday night.

“It is a real pleasure to see this new tourism operation excel. The idea for hot pools in Methven started in the community and grew and evolved over time, resulting in this fantastic new facility that is drawing local, regional, national and international visitors year round.

“The words vision, courage and perseverance come to mind, as well as congratulations and well deserved.”

The 2024 Business of the Year Awards were once again sponsored by ANZ, as well as a host of supporting and category sponsors. The awards were first held in 2022 and are a biennial event.

Ms McMillan said the Ashburton District had a diverse and successful business community, using technology and new ideas to take products to markets around New Zealand and the world, while providing great customer service locally.

“I want to thank our generous sponsors and congratulate all the local businesses that entered and put themselves out there, as well as all those that open their doors every day to serve the public. Our district’s economy and community depends on you.”

For more information on all the finalists and winners, visit businessoftheyear.nz.

Category winners –

Excellence in Primary Industry
Small: Potato Seed Cooperative
Judges said: Stand-out great business, well connected with local producers and large scale manufacturers.
Large: May Brothers Contracting
Judges said: Showcased themselves as enabling and helping other Mid Canterbury businesses flourish.

Excellence in Customer Experience
Small: Escape Adventures NZ
Judges said: An outstanding business that goes above and beyond for its customers on cycle tours all over the world.
Large: Ōpuke Thermal Pools and Spa
Judges said: The customer experience systems at Ōpuke are world class.

Excellence in Workplace Wellbeing
Small: Juice Signs + Design
Judges said: They showed a robustness in the care and support they provide their team, which then clearly translates to business success.
Large: RX Plastics
Judges said: They really showed fantastic systems and care for workers, changing the way they do things following a tragic incident.
Highly commended: Tavendale and Partners
Judges said: Their care for staff and fresh thinking in a traditional industry was a standout.

Excellence in Community Impact
Kai for Kids Charitable Trust
Judges said: This field was full of immensely deserving organisations doing amazing things for our local community, but Kai for Kids was a standout for their structure and strategic direction and how they are responding to a really critical need in our community.

Excellence in Professional Services
Tavendale and Partners
Judges: Their fresh thinking and pivoting were immediately noted. Their questioning about what a local practice needs to look like in the future was evident and they were a clear winner.

Excellence in Tourism
Ōpuke Thermal Pools and Spa
Judges said: This is a relatively new business, already showing the way. The impact they have had as an enabler for other tourism businesses is phenomenal and they are making a huge impact on our tourism industry, delivering a world class tourism product.

Excellence in Manufacturing
RX Plastics
Judges said: There are a lot of things you can do with a plastic pipe! Their innovation and product design was outstanding.
Highly commended: Cullimore Engineering
Judges said: Their engineering products are different, but world class, and a phenomenal business.

Excellence in Emerging New Business
Berry Beauty
Judges said: An amazing team, led by an entrepreneur who has really understood the market and opportunity in Mid Canterbury, and who has continually reinvested capital into growing her business.

Excellence in Business Leadership
Graham Kennedy
Judges said: Graeme has been a driving force in Ashburton businesses for decades. He has contributed both commercially and through his involvement in a variety of charities and philanthropic trusts. He is a clear Mid Canterbury leader and he has given so much to our businesses over that time.

Emerging Business Leader
Sam Cullimore, Cullimore Engineering
Sam is an up-and-coming leader and has achieved a lot in his short career. He is also a volunteer firefighter and works with charities, and continues to invest in his education and development, with a view to governance and directorship.

Excellence in Retail/Hospitality
Triangle Espresso
Highly commended: Stronecrubie Restaurant & Accommodation and Cleavers Corner Gastro Pub
Judges said: This category was massively contested and so close, with the Triangle Espresso having a slight edge. All three businesses are incredibly good and we struggled to separate them; they are all amazing businesses showing phenomenal customer service and we are proud to have them in Mid Canterbury.

Excellence in Technology and Innovation
Small: Cullimore Engineering
Judges said: The technology and innovation that was shown in the demonstration was mindblowing. To have a local business that can stand toe-to-toe with the best German precision and beat them in contracts was amazing to see.
Large: Ōpuke Thermal Pools and Spa
Judges said: This is a world class business that is using leading-edge innovation and technology to reduce its carbon footprint. The way they capture solar heat and store water is an environmental win.

Excellence in Export
Small: Quigley Feeds
Judges said: A company that has overcome some challenges and doing amazing things in Mid Canterbury.
Large: RX Plastics
Judges said: They clearly showed excellence in looking to develop markets and expand in the markets they have developed. They showed real innovation, a fresh approach and forward thinking in terms of how their products can be used in a different range of industries.

Excellence in Environmental Sustainability
Small: Jan Maree Cleaning Services
Judges said: This business operates in a sector that does not have the best environmental chops and some operators use a lot of chemicals. But she is really leading the way with the products she uses and how she operates.
Large: Ōpuke Thermal Pools and Spa
Judges said: Their commitment to being utterly the best extends to working in environmentally sustainable ways. They have lofty goals and they are hitting them; an exemplar for everyone in Mid Canterbury to follow.
Highly commended: Wrights Drycleaners
Judges said: An incredible business working in an industry which traditionally uses a lot of energy and chemicals. They are making strides to improve their footprint.

Supreme Award
Ōpuke Thermal Pools and Spa
Judges said: Just an outstanding business all round, a new business set up with very smart thinking and very clever people, and they have made some bold statements about what they are going to achieve. Their business model is firmly focused on their people and their customers, and they use technology to support this focus. Overall, inspirational.

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