Taking inspiration from her childhood obsession with rap artists, a small business owner gave an memorable acceptance speech at a recent awards ceremony.
Elise Niu won the customer choice award for service at the Electra Kapiti Horowhenua Business Awards, after entering this year for the first time.
Elise, a personal trainer and business owner from Elise Niu — Functional HIIT, told her supporters she would rap her acceptance speech if she won the award.
"On a bit of a whim I told my supporters on Instagram if they voted for me I'd perform a rap on stage but as soon as I said it I was overwhelmed with messages and voters daring me to.
"By then it was too late to pull out so I decided that if I was going to do it I was going to do it with everything I had and share a really positive message for my supporters."
From setting up her own business in Kapiti in 2016, Elise has gone on to develop an online fitness app with one goal — to build happier, healthier communities.
Elise's unconventional way of thanking her family, team, and those who voted and support her was popular not just with the 370 guests who attended the awards dinner, but has also received over 3000 views and hundreds of comments on the video posted on Facebook online.
"When I found out I was a finalist it became more real that I'd made this promise so a week out from the awards I wrote it.
"It took about 30 minutes to write and I asked my kids if I sounded really epic and they said yes.
"By the end of the week my four kids knew all the words and were rapping it with me.
"I grew up obsessed with 2pac, Lauryn Hill and Missy Elliott so I couldn't think of any better way to show my gratitude and love to those who voted by rapping my award speech and being a rap artist for the night.
"I was fizzing when they called my name, it was such a surreal moment that I will never forget."
With a record 71 entries for the customer choice award this year the win was even more special for Elise who has built up her business while growing her young family.
"The awards process is an extremely valuable experience for myself personally and for my business as it continues to grow," she said.
"Building happier, healthier communities through fitness is what drives me.
"My vision is to make New Zealand the happiest and most active place on the planet — starting with Kapiti."