An increased number of entrants made it a challenging prospect for judges at this year's Westpac Tauranga Business Awards.

But it was EastPack Ltd which took home the Westpac Business of the Year.

Head judge Andrew Hitchfield said the panel of judges was impressed with the overall way EastPack did innovative business and how they amalgamated with Satara.

EastPacks journey to change their health and safety culture over the last few years is
something the judge could not look past.

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"Of the many things they have implemented, is technology solutions to eliminate people and forklift interaction risk by use of stacking robot and an automated storage and retrieval warehouse system," Hitchfield said.

The Air New Zealand Corporate sponsorship award was won by Wave Agency, who demonstrated a very strong ethic for giving back.

The business recognised for its Corporate Leadership was RoboticsPlus which emerged from the need to solve the growing challenges in the global primary industries.

Hitchfield said going into people's business across the Bay and seeing the way they conducted business was rewarding.

"There was a higher quality of innovation showcased in various forms, some making business easier to do, others with new and interesting products, services and business models.

"Another aspect was the younger business people doing business differently, and standing out with their passion and ambition."

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said having too many businesses to choose from was a sign that boded well for business in the Bay.

There was a strong focus on technology, particularly in the Kiwifruit sector. Cowley said it appeared to be innovating constantly and becoming world-leading in technology.

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The awards were a stepping stone to even greater business success said Westpac area commercial manager Clare Basire.

"The Westpac Tauranga Business Awards have always been about taking time out to
acknowledge business excellence – this is about recognising the smartest, strongest and most sustainable businesses in the community."

Winners and finalists of the Westpac Tauranga Business Awards 2019

ACC Workplace

Winner: EastPack Ltd

Finalist: Lysaght Consultants Ltd

Finalist: Tika Interiors

Digital and Technology Innovation
Winner: Proppy
Finalists: EastPack Ltd
Finalists: The Babysitters Club Ltd

Business Innovation
Winner: EastPack Ltd
Finalist: House of Science NZ
Finalist: Lysaght Consultants Ltd
Finalist: The Babysitters Club Ltd

Customer Experience Award
Winner: Bake Shack
Highly Commended: LL WEDDING & EVENT HIRE
Finalist: Eagle Ridge
Finalist: The Relocatable House Company

Social Enterprise
Winner: Acorn Foundation
Highly Commended: Tauranga Volunteer Coastguard
Finalist: House of Science NZ

Retail Excellence
Winner: Fashion Island
Finalist: Bake Shack

Sustainable Business
Winner: The Kollective - TK
Highly Commended: Why Waste

Emerging Business
Winner: Collab Digital
Finalist: Liv Light
Finalist: The Babysitters Club

Service Excellence
Winner: Liz van Wellie Aquatics
Highly Commended: LL Wedding & Event Hire
Finalist: The Babysitters Club Ltd
Finalist: Bureta Physiotherapy
Finalist: The Relocatable House Company

Tourism & Hospitality
Winner: Good Local Pyes Pa
Finalist: Manaaki Tours
Finalist: Eagle Ridge

Manufacturing & Distribution
Winner: EastPack Ltd
Finalist: Bake Shack
Finalist: Archway Group

Corporate Sponsorship
Winner: Wave Agency
Finalist: Trustpower

Corporate Leadership
RoboticsPlus

Westpac Tauranga Business of the Year
EastPack Ltd