Finalists reflect best of the Bay

By Patrick O'Sullivan

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More than 200 Hawke's Bay tourism operators celebrated success last night at the inaugural Hawke's Bay Tourism Industry Awards where they were told industry unity was the way forward.

Three winning businesses were selected from 26 entries to go forward to a new tourism category in the Westpac Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce Business Awards in November: Birdwood's Gallery & Sweet Shop; Hawthorne House; The Dome Apartments.

At the Skyline Aviation hangar at Hawke's Bay Airport, the new chief executive of the Tourism Association of New Zealand, Martin Snedden, said unity was essential for the industry to progress.

He told Hawke's Bay Today that in his first 12 weeks in the tourism business he had been "staggered by the diversity in tourism in a geographical sense, in a size sense and in the range of activities".

"Those in the industry need to stand together," Mr Snedden said.

"Because of the diversity there is an inevitable degree of fragmentation that exists. If that could be overcome then tourism could be in a position to have a strong and collective voice in New Zealand."

He said Hawke's Bay was no backwater. "It has a lot going for it. I've been married to a Hawke's Bay girl for 20 years and I know it has lots of qualities that are suited to modern-day tourism."

He said opportunities, such as increased cruise ship visits, had to be seized and with increasing industry cohesion even more opportunities would present themselves.

The awards were a timely example of the Hawke's Bay tourism industry's cohesion, and success in difficult economic times.

The entries represented a cross-section of local operators, from boutique accommodation, motels and hotels to galleries, wineries, markets and adventure operators.

Sam Orton, chairman of the Hawke's Bay Tourism Industry Association said: "This is the first year we have held these awards and we are really delighted with the high calibre of entrants.

"The overall support of the tourism industry has been phenomenal and it's great to see such a huge crowd celebrating regional tourism here this evening."

Judges praised the three finalists.

Birdwood's Gallery & Sweet Shop:

"This business has passion, vision, imagination, hard work, common sense and intuition. There seems little doubt that the Birdwood's team exemplify this," Peter Blackwell, general manager of AA Travel, said.

Hawthorne House:

"Hawthorne House is a business that is all about great attention to detail.

"This incredibly welcoming establishment offers superb customer service and goes the extra mile for every guest. Mike has developed new marketing initiatives in the off-season which has raised his local and national profile as well as improving his off-season business," EIT Tourism & Hospitality School head Jenny Robertson said.

The Dome Apartments:

"The Dome entry is driven by the marketing opportunity it presents. The business, the marketing and profile of the Dome are the result of a dedicated focus on process.

"The business feels slick, fluent and streamlined," Mr Blackwell said.


The top three finalists who go on to The Westpac Chamber of Commerce Awards in November.

  • Birdwood's Gallery & Sweet Shop

  • Hawthorne House

  • The Dome Apartments

The Top Ten Finalists

  • Bay View Snapper Holiday Park

  • Birdwood's Gallery & Sweet Shop

  • Giant's Winery - Craggy Range

  • Elephant Hill Winery & Restaurant

  • Hastings City Art Gallery

  • Hawthorne House

  • Kennedy Park Top 10 Resort

  • Mohaka Rafting

  • Odyssey New Zealand

  • The Dome Apartments


- Hawkes Bay Today

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