Kaye and Bernie Crosby founded Prolife Foods in 1984 from their home garage by selling nuts through vending machines.
Thirty years later, the company produces some of the most well-known food brands in New Zealand, including Mother Earth and Alison's Pantry.
The husband and wife team have been made officers of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business and philanthropy.
Initially Kaye handled administration while caring for two young children and Bernie weighed, packed and sold the nuts.
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Three years later they had three employees and began to diversify into hospitality supplies. In 1993, they developed the Alison's Pantry brand with the backing of chef Alison Holst and in 2008, bought Mother Earth from Cadbury.
In 2005, Kaye stepped back from a management role and Bernie withdrew from day-to-day management in 2006. They remain on the board.
The Hamilton-based company now employs more than 600 people. Bernie received an honorary doctorate from the University of Waikato last year.
He has held directorships at several other companies and supports the Hamilton Gardens, the MESH Sculpture Trust, the New Zealand Painting and Printmaking Award and the Coromandel Westpac Rescue Helicopter Trust. Last year he initiated a campaign to raise $1 million over five years to fund neurological research into Parkinson's disease.
Officers of the New Zealand Order of Merit.