Maungatapere Berries took out the Supreme Award in this year's Westpac Northland Business Excellence Award held on Friday at Forum North in Whangārei.

Businesses from throughout Northland submitted more than 35 unique entries across five business categories, eight ancillary categories and an overall supreme winner.

"Diversity and innovation were the key factors making Maungatapere Berries this year's Supreme winner," the judges said.

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"Dermott, Patrick, Linzi and Rebecca demonstrated a 'berry' clear vision in diversifying their orchard into a state of the art, year-round berry producing business.

"With a strong focus on their environmental impact and employee wellbeing, Maungatapere Berries demonstrates business excellence at all levels," the judges said.

Emerging Business Award

The NorthTec Best Emerging Business Award went to Villa Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors. The other finalist in this category was HeadsUp Adventures.

Villa demonstrated an approach of flexibility and quality to their work supported by sound planning and processes. The judges were impressed with the enthusiasm and commitment of the Villa team to Northland businesses, helping and inspiring their clients to reach their goals.

Excellence in Business Micro

Whangārei Top 10 Holiday Park and Motels won the Ricoh Northland Excellence in Business Micro Business Award. Finalists were: Hone Heke Lodge Flashpackers Kerikeri
and Sarahlee Studio.

Since entering the Business Awards last year Whangārei Top 10 Holiday Park and Motels have continued to enhance their business processes and the overall presentation of their facilities whilst caring for the natural environment with education and sustainability progress, the judges said.

Small Business Excellence

The Henderson Reeves Excellence in Business Small Business Award went to Ruakaka Beach Holiday Park. The finalists were: Beachcomber Restaurant & Bar and Re-vive Beauty Therapy.

Ruakaka Beach Holiday Park is one of the largest camp sites in NZ located on the Ruakaka estuary. They offer 264 power sites, 80 non-powered sites and nine cabins. The management of the campsite demonstrated a great passion for caring for the park now and in the future.

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They have a detailed management plan and business plan in place outlining how they will achieve their goals.

Medium Business Excellence

Marsden Maritime Holdings Excellence in Business Medium Business Award went to Bellingham Quarries. Finalists were: I have a Dream Charitable Trust and Whitelaw Weber.

Bellingham Quarries is a successful third generation Northland family business. Their entry, and the judges' visit, showed clearly how well they juggle multiple sites, ever-changing customer demand, new industry requirements and volatile pricing with a clear vision and ruthless pragmatism, the judges said.

Large Business

The Vodafone Excellence in Business Large Business Award went to Maungatapere Berries. The finalist was Educare.

The judges were impressed by this entrant five years ago. Add a new vision, plenty of passion and some hard work by all, and the fruits of their labour are an innovative multi-product operation.

As a significant employer in Northland Maungatapere Berries is aware their workforce is key to their success and is designing industry leading training and share ownership schemes to help protect and grow this resource, the judges said.

Workplace Safety

Accident Compensation Corporation's Workplace Safety Award went to Educare. Finalists:
Tranznorth, Northcom Communications Group. Whitelaw Weber received the ACC Special Commendation.

Educare is a childcare business based in Northland operating nationally with 212 staff.
Educare has robust processes for the identification and management of risks.

It's great to see that the business tracks and reports on their incident trends including cause and time of day with learnings are shared across different worksites, the judges said.

The company has recognised the need to invest in the development of leadership within their organisation and in the face of exponential growth has maintained a hands-on and compassionate approach to decision making.

Judges' Choice

People Potential Judges' Choice Award went to Northland Arts Centre.

Julia and Jason and their team of volunteers at the Northland Arts Centre create a magic environment for therapeutic art and quality education, the judges said. The judges loved the passion and creativity expressed within the centre, and the genuine desire of Julia and Jason to make a difference to their community.

Environmental Excellence

Northland Regional Council Environmental Excellence Award went to HeadsUp Adventures with Maungatapere Berries and Whangārei Top 10 Holiday Park and Motels the finalists.

HeadsUp Adventures demonstrated a commitment to sustainable and environmental excellence, the judges said.

Best Not for Profit

Top Energy Best Not for Profit Organisation Award went to I have a Dream Charitable Trust
Finalists: Multicultural Whangārei Incorporated and Ruakaka Beach Holiday Park.

Judges said the trust's entry combines a solid business foundation and attention to detail with very obvious commitment and engagement from people at all levels of the organisation - including the children on the programme who are living proof of the results.

Innovation

Northland Inc Innovate Northland Award and Innovate Special Commendation went to Olive and Ash. Wellkit Foods International was the finalist.

The judges were very impressed with this business, Olive and Ash. The owners have created a product that is tasty, and easy to ship - both throughout NZ and to potential export markets. Reduction of meat consumption is very topical, and the volume will only grow as global warming and land use concerns become more and more mainstream.

Having the product as a quick and easily prepared meal that is familiar to consumers is a clever strategy that will resonate with a broad range of consumers. They also felt that targeting "reductarians", millennials and busy lifestyles was astute and created opportunities such as partnering with heavy weights Beef & Lamb which would be prohibitive if the brand targeted the obvious vegan market.

Creative Excellence

Creative Northland Excellence in Creative Industries Award went to Sarahlee Studio. Finalist: Memory Lane. Creative Special Commendation - Northland Arts Centre.

Sarahlee has proven she is worthy of this award as a creative entrepreneur, using photography as a medium to bring something to life that only lives in the artist's mind.

This is evident in her written application, her understanding of her business, product lines, and her financial model has improved year upon year.

Customer Choice

More FM Customer Choice Award – Retail went to Taste & See NZ. Finalists: Eko Hub
and Kiwi North.

More FM Customer Choice Award – Service went to Memory Lane. Finalists: Blush Beauty Therapy, Bellingham Quarries.

Employer / Emlpoyee Awards

Ministry of Social Development He Poutama Taitamariki Award (Youth Employee of the Year) award went to employee Trey Henry. Winner – employer Ngati Kahu Social Services.

This year's He Poutama Taitamariki (Youth Employee of the Year) award winner is someone who has not only overcome challenges in his life but has used them to his advantage, the judges said.

Trey has tackled some of the common challenges our Te Taitokerau rangatahi face and has become a role model for his whānau.

Hall of Fame

The Northern Advocate Business Hall of Fame Inductee for 2019 is Kaka Porowini.