They welcome the world to their Bay of Islands lodge and now, their customers have spoken.

The Kerikeri team of the Hone Heke Lodge say it's a privilege to open their doors to guests and they are thrilled their customers have voted them as winners of the More FM Customer's Choice Service Provider Award.

David and Victoria Howells bought the lodge in 2014 and refurbished and reopened the backpackers' lodge, which had been closed for a year.

"The world comes to see us," said Ms Howells. "We are just so thrilled and so grateful to win this."


The couple, and their 10-year-old twins Ella and Joe, moved to Kerikeri from the UK, but Ms Howells has a long connection with Northland.

She was educated at Rawene, Opononi, Omanaia and Whangarei, while her father, Bob Kennedy, was a one-time Hokianga County Council engineer.

The couple met in the UK, while Victoria was travelling. Their dream to open a backpackers had come true and their aim was to create a hostel and backpacker sanctuary where people could relax and take advantage of the wonderful area around Kerikeri.

Meanwhile, Whangarei-based Cuppacakes Northland took the More FM Customer's Choice Retail Provider award on Friday night.

Ashley Adams of Cuppacakes Northland was thrilled to be named More FM Customer's Choice Retail Provider.
Ashley Adams of Cuppacakes Northland was thrilled to be named More FM Customer's Choice Retail Provider.

Erina Miller, GM of MediaWorks, said the awards were aimed at celebrating those who had meaningful engagement with their clients.

What started as a mere hobby has turned into a sweet business for Kamo's Ashley Adams, a young baker in her early 20s who opened the cafe on John St in July. A baking career started from home in 2012, when Ms Adams, a former cafe manager at McDonald's McCafe on Bank St, decided to start baking cupcakes while she was on maternity leave with her second child.

The demand grew and before she knew it she had partnered up with Denby Golf Club and was baking from its kitchen and selling from the club. Ms Adams' use of social media to communicate with customers almost as vital a tool of the trade as her baking oven.