New Zealand-owned First Mortgage Trust is celebrating its 25 year anniversary with the announcement it has been judged the best New Zealand Non-Bank of the Year.
This award comes on the back of last year's achievement, when the trust reported it had more than $1 billion of investor funds under management, a figure which firmly cemented it as the largest non-bank first mortgage provider in New Zealand.
Chief executive officer Tony Kinzett said he was delighted with the February announcement from NZ Advisor, giving particular credit for the award to his hard-working team who are based in offices across the country.
"We have had a stellar year of continued growth in investor numbers and quality borrower enquiry, and it seems very fitting to receive silverware in our silver anniversary year," he said.
"Crossing into the $1 billion category late last year was big news in itself, but to be recognised by our peers with this award is very satisfying, and I have no doubt that it will give our investors and borrowers further confidence that they are dealing with the best of the best."
Headquartered in Tauranga, and established in 1996, the company has maintained a resolute focus on its business fundamentals since the outset, with prudent risk management and unwavering customer service at its core.
"The trust has consistently delivered solid better than bank returns based on well-considered commercial, industrial, residential and rural property loans, secured by first mortgages, primarily located in the economic strongholds of New Zealand," Kinzett said.
Chairman of First Mortgage Managers (the manager of the trust), Michael Smith, said achieving the award and surpassing $1 billion in funds 'back to back' marks the trust as a true success story for Tauranga and the wider region.
"The trust's growth and recognition stems from the respect we've shown for our investors' trust and confidence. Year after year, First Mortgage Trust has gone from strength to strength, both in terms of serving our investors and in meeting the needs and aspirations of borrowers and I'm delighted to see that recognised."
Looking to the future, Kinzett said First Mortgage Trust aims to keep making good decisions, and to ensure that the organisation is optimally structured to look after its nearly 5000 investors and its nationwide network of advisors and borrowers.
"That means working smarter to ensure our client engagement and business performance are second-to-none. We want our investors and borrowers to continue to stay loyal and to tell our good news stories to others."
Pandemic changes NZ domestic travel habits
The pandemic has changed Kiwis' domestic travel habits and Kiwis are loving holidaying at home, new research shows.
The Tourism Industry Aotearoa's latest Domestic Visitor Satisfaction survey, carried out by Angus & Associates, found in the second half of 2020, half of the New Zealanders who travelled domestically for leisure enjoyed a holiday or short break.
This was despite alert level restrictions during some of that period and was up from 42 per cent in July to December 2019.
Other reasons for leisure travel were to visit family and friends, or to attend an event.
More New Zealanders visited Queenstown, Bay of Plenty and Central Otago compared to the same period in 2019, although a smaller proportion visited Northland and Wellington.
And people are more satisfied with our domestic travel, with 63 per cent of us rating our trip a 9 or 10 out of 10 (up from 58 per cent).
The survey questioned 2196 New Zealanders on their perceptions of regional travel. It complements other domestic market research carried out by Tourism New Zealand.
"It's great that New Zealanders are heeding the call to get out and enjoy their own backyard. Not only are they helping to support thousands of jobs and businesses around the country, they are discovering why we have long been one of the world's most desirable destinations," TIA chief executive Chris Roberts said.
"Our tourism product and our tourism operators are world-class."
In 2020, three in four New Zealanders took at least one overnight domestic leisure trip. Almost half of these trips were for a holiday or short break.
The average trip was for three nights, but almost a fifth of New Zealanders travelled for seven nights or more.
Because of the national lockdown that occurred during March and April 2020, the proportion of autumn trips dropped to 17 per cent (from 31 per cent in 2019) but we got moving again in the second half of the year.
Almost half of New Zealanders had their expectations exceeded on their most recent trip. Those who travelled to Canterbury, the Coromandel or Northland showed the highest levels of satisfaction with their trip. Older travellers and those on longer trips tended to be the most satisfied.
"With so much to see and do in every region, it's not surprising that those who have more time to explore are the most satisfied with their experiences," Roberts said.
With border restrictions remaining in place for the foreseeable future, New Zealand's tourism operators will be focused on continuing to deliver memorable experiences for Kiwis.
Heels and steels
The National Association of Women in Construction's Bay of Plenty ran a Heels and Steels event simultaneously with their nationwide organisations last month.
Nearly 30 people, both members and non-members, attended the event hosted at Plumbing World in Judea on February 24.
Events were also held in Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown.
NAWIC Bay of Plenty chapter chairwoman Lynette Oxford said the purpose of the events was to launch NAWIC's 2021 Belonging Strategy with a focus on making women in both office-based and site-based work feel like they belong in the construction industry. Attendees got to know each other via a speed networking forum.
"We aimed to ensure both parties felt comfortable and created a sense of belonging at NAWIC events going forward."
Portable sawmill demonstrations delayed
Rotorua based manufacturer Peterson Portable Sawmills have made the difficult decision to postpone their digital and factory demonstration days due to nationwide Covid-19 alert levels being raised.
The company was due to host their demonstrations from March 11 to 13 and was expecting visitors from all over the country, including Auckland, which is currently in alert level 3. This means that Auckland residents are currently unable to leave their region.
With the restrictions on events held in alert level 2, and the possibility of Auckland visitors being unable to attend, Peterson Portable Sawmills CEO Kerris Browne made the call to postpone for one month.
"When we hold a demonstration day, we go all out," Browne said.
"We set up every sawmill model and accessory we have, order in a stack of logs, hire videographers, photographers and have a full crew of staff on hand to assist our visitors. I'm not a person who does things by half and neither are my team."
When asked if cancelling the demonstrations was ever an option, Browne said she never considered it.
"Our demonstrations are an in-depth look at our products and how to operate them effectively. They're invaluable to our local and International customers, so the show will go on, just not this month."
Since the effects of Covid-19 took hold in 2020, Peterson Portable Sawmills have seen a huge upturn in business with more interest and sales than they have experienced in years.
Sales manager Aaron Kalan puts this down to timber prices and availability, as well as people simply wanting to become more self-sufficient.
"Many of our customers either have their own land and trees, or have access to logs," said Kalan. "They want to be able to cut their timber and build their own structures, or provide custom sawmilling services to others to help them do the same."
New Zealand Covid-19 guidelines state that those who are living at alert level 2 can travel anywhere in New Zealand that is at alert level 1 or 2, but that they consider avoiding large gatherings.
Kalan agreed that while he was looking forward to the demonstration days, postponing was a good call to make.
"We don't want to tell people from Auckland that they can't come if they're still in alert level 3, or keep them separated at level 2, it's just not how we do things. Our team agreed that we'd rather delay our demos and hope that things will have improved again in a month's time so that everyone can attend."
Peterson Portable Sawmills digital demonstration day will now take place April 15, with Factory Demonstration Days on April 16 and 17 at their premises at 15 Hyland Cres, Rotorua.
Whakatāne Board Mill's pivot into sustainable packaging welcomed
Sustainable Bay of Plenty Trust is strongly supportive of the Whakatāne Board Mill being repurposed to produce more sustainable packaging types, such as value-added cardboard products that help to remove single-use plastics from circulation.
Sustainable Bay of Plenty spokesman Glen Crowther said the Board Mill reportedly has unique intellectual property in this space that will result in the removal of thousands of tonnes of single-use plastics and laminated board from circulation every year.
"We ask central government to investigate this technology and how the mill can be supported to commercialise it in the near future. This would not only retain people's jobs at the mill, but also accelerate our transition away from single-use plastics."
Sustainable BOP understands the Whakatāne Board Mill is already making moves towards sustainability by investing in research and development of compostable product lines to replace the polymer coated cardboards commonly used in the food industry.
One of the key goals of Sustainable Bay of Plenty Charitable Trust is to support the development of a low carbon circular economy.
"We are aware that the closure of this mill would have a big impact on many in the town, with it being the largest private employer in Whakatāne that supports many other businesses," Crowther said.
"It is vital that all options are investigated to prevent unnecessary closure. We hope the Government will support the mill, Toi EDA and Whakatāne Council to find an optimal solution."
Sustainable BOP agrees with Toi EDA that a sustainable wood processing sector is one of the keys to our regional prosperity. The proposed mill closure is just a symptom of the wider issue.
Speaker Series celebrates businesswomen
What do a fashion designer, microbiologist and eco-conscious beauty product pioneer all have in common?
They are Kiwi businesswomen at the forefront of change – and the keynote speakers at a brand new event happening in Tauranga.
Hosted by Business Women's Network (BWN), in partnership with Cooney Lees Morgan and Craigs Investment Partners, the inaugural BWN Speaker Series brings together inspirational, influential and innovative women from around New Zealand and the Bay of Plenty to share their insights into the new ways of doing business.
BWN is a networking group formed by women, for women, as part of the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce, with a goal to connect local women to exciting and engaging opportunities.
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce event organiser Anne Pankhurst says the Speaker Series theme, The Changing Face of Business, addresses the fact that in today's world doing good businesses isn't just about financial profit – it's about how you look after your people and your place in the world.
Speakers include Kiwi fashion designer Karen Walker, Associate Professor at The University of Auckland Dr Siouxsie Wiles, and New Zealand eco-beauty entrepreneur and founder of Ethique Brianne West.
The keynote speakers are joined by a whole slew of other inspirational women from companies that live and breathe the event's values. These speakers include Jennifer Del Bel (Founder, Downlights), Jennifer Boggiss (CEO and Founder, Heilala Vanilla), Clare Swallow (Director, Mulberry St), Fiona McTavish (CEO, BOP Regional Council), Gordy Lockhart (who will be giving a quick overview of The Kollective before Tania Wilson (Momenta)).
The Speaker Series events are to be held on May 27 and July 8 at Trinity Wharf Hotel.