Companies representing Hawke's Bay on the international scene were celebrated last night, at the second annual Hawke's Bay Export Awards.
At the awards dinner, held at The Old Church in Meeanee, Whakatu lighting, furniture, and jewellery designer David Trubridge received the ExportNZ's ASB Exporter of the Year award, and the Napier Port Most Sustainable in Export award.
While Mr Trubridge was not able to attend last night as he had earlier travelled to Auckland TV studios to watch his son William Trubridge break another world freediving world record in the Bahamas, he said his company had entered to see how it measured up alongside other local companies.
"I have always been proud that we can run an international company from Whakatu," he said.
"We joke about having our tagline as Milan, New York, Whakatu ... but I do think it is important to promote this message that you can do this kind of thing without being in Auckland, let alone the middle of Europe."
He said it was nice to have that recognised, and it was important the people in his team saw their great work recognised beyond his appreciation.
ExportNZ Hawke's Bay executive officer Amanda Liddle said Trubridge was a "most worthy" winner.
"They're a wonderful representative for Hawke's Bay on the international scene, with particularly their distinctive lighting designs up there with the best in the world. We're privileged to have them here in Hawke's Bay.
She said: "We were overwhelmed by the number and quality of companies that entered, and it's clear that Hawke's Bay business is in extremely good shape."
Other winners included McLaren Stainless, which received the QBE Insurance Most Exciting New Product in Export Award, Tow and Blow, which won the NZL, ContainerCo Innovation in Export Award, and Phoenix Fire Pumps, which was awarded the Business Central Judge's Choice Award.
Principle sponsor ASB Bank's head of trade finance Mike Atkins said: "We know Hawke's Bay is home to a diverse range of industries and businesses, underpinned by a strong primary sector.
This year we've been impressed by a number of entries from the manufacturing sector which, in typical Kiwi style, attempt to fly under the radar.
Business Central Chief Executive John Milford said the awards were a great chance for businesses to show what they were doing on the world stage, to expand their business horizons, and get inspired.