New awards have been unveiled at the launch of this year's Westpac Rotorua Business Excellence Awards, with a strong new focus on the industries which drive Rotorua.

Details of this year's awards were announced tonight over drinks and nibbles at the Rotorua Chamber of Commerce's Business After 5 event.

Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Allison Lawton said this year's theme, Uniquely Rotorua, was inspired by a desire to recognise and celebrate Rotorua's key industries.

Lawton said the majority of categories had been realigned to ensure they were meaningful and relevant, giving businesses a clearer understanding of where they fit.

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"The excellence in the industry award categories have been positioned to recognise key industries, rather than generic business categories."

Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Allison Lawton announced new awards at the launch of the 2018 Westpac Rotorua Business Excellence Awards. Photo/Stephen Parker
Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Allison Lawton announced new awards at the launch of the 2018 Westpac Rotorua Business Excellence Awards. Photo/Stephen Parker

Lawton said key Rotorua business sectors including forestry, farming, horticulture, property, construction, manufacturing and professional services would now have a clear place in the awards.

"We hope this will encourage more businesses in our key industries to enter, and gives an opportunity for us to highlight the crucial role they play in the Rotorua economy."

Businesses will have the opportunity to compete in four new categories this year -
Bilingual Business Award, Excellence in Small Business, Social Licence Award and Innovation and Disruption Award.

Lawton said the bilingual business award fitted well with Rotorua's goal to become New Zealand's first bilingual city.

"It is important to us to have an award which highlights our city's cultural goals.This new award will recognise the importance and value of Rotorua's bilingual city status, as well as displaying bilingual opportunities within your business or organisation."

Te Tatau o Te Arawa, in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce, was pleased to champion the Reorua Award as part of its goal to strengthen Rotorua's identity as New Zealand's first reorua (bilingual) city.

The Hits Rotorua's Paul Hickey MC's the launch of the 2018 Westpac Rotorua Business Excellence Awards. Photo/Stephen Parker
The Hits Rotorua's Paul Hickey MC's the launch of the 2018 Westpac Rotorua Business Excellence Awards. Photo/Stephen Parker

Chairman Te Taru White said Rotorua's bilingual status elevated it to a unique cultural proposition as a destination.

"The Reorua award is a way of recognising and valuing those businesses who integrate this within their mahi (work).

"We are also hopeful that this award will encourage other businesses to embrace Rotorua Reorua and enhance our city's cultural value proposition to both international and domestic visitors."

A new award for small businesses was also introduced.

Lawton said the award recognised that not all businesses had a dream of being the biggest, and was a chance to showcase companies with five or fewer fulltime employees.

"Rotorua is an innovation hub and through the Innovation and Disruption Award, we acknowledge innovative products or practices and those which challenge the status-quo, creating new norms."

Entries for the awards open on May 1 and close on July 26. The awards will be held on Friday, October 5.

To enter visit https://wrbea.awardsplatform.com

The 2018 Westpac Business Awards categories
• Industry Awards
Toi Ohomai Excellence in Primary Industries
The Rotorua Daily Post Property Guide Excellence in Property and Construction
Pukeroa Oruawhata Excellence in the Retail Industry
Holland Beckett Law Excellence in the Service Sector
Deloitte Excellence in Tourism and Hospitality
AVID Management Consulting Agency Excellence in Small Business less than 5 FTE
• Business Awards
Pipi Ma Bi-lingual Business Award
Employee of the Year
Bay of Connections Excellence in Social License
Trust Power Innovation and Disruption Award
The Hits Not for Profit (Community)
Ministry of Education Young Entrepreneur of the Year
• Major Awards
Rotorua Lakes Council Rotorua Company of the Year
Red Stag Timber Rotorua Business Person of the Year
Westpac Rotorua Business Excellence Awards Supreme Winner