For the fourth year in a row, Bayfair Shopping Centre has been awarded for having the most inclusive business practices in 2019/2020.
The shopping centre also took out the New Build-Commercial category 2019/2020 for its development at the Tauranga City Accessibility Awards.
Bayfair Shopping Centre has promoted social responsibility through a strategy to become more accessible by incorporating core values in all its social events and initiatives.
The goal is to raise awareness of accessibility issues within the wider community.
As part of its $115 million development project, the centre took the opportunity to install a fire evacuation visual alert system throughout the centre, mount Braille wayfinding signage across all amenities and update the store directory to include Braille for people with hearing and visual impairments.
Additionally, a second parents' room and another set of mobility scooter charging stations have been added as part of the development to ensure short-to-no wait times for parents who need to tend to their children and those needing to re-boot their mobility scooters.
With an increase in the number of car parks, Bayfair has allocated additional car parks for those with mobility permits in close proximity to centre entries and added a dedicated accessibility pick up and drop off zone.
Bayfair also opened a quiet room last year for visitors with sensory processing and autism spectrum disorders.
Bayfair Shopping Centre manager and leading accessibility advocate Steve Ellingford said the centre's accessibility initiatives allow customers to continue their shopping.
"It is difficult for families affected by sensory processing and autism spectrum disorders to go to busy public places – in fear that they won't be able to find somewhere suitable for their family and their needs.
"Our team prides itself in thinking about the big picture when it comes to providing the best for the community."
Redwoods Treewalk lighting up the holidays
Rotorua's Redwoods Treewalk and world-acclaimed design and conservation icon David Trubridge have launched their latest collaboration for Treewalk's Nightlights.
Three new aluminium lanterns were inaugurated, in the shape of Trubridge's iconic Floral and Coral design and are 1.6 metres in diameter.
David Trubridge Design Studio general manager Josh Lynch said the selection was made because of the iconic design and what David Trubridge was recognised for.
"These are really large versions of our existing products."
Treewalk co-founder and managing director Bruce Thomasen said the addition of the new lights was another feature for the walk.
Thomasen said the new lights will contribute to position the Nightlights as Rotorua's most popular evening product but also as Aotearoa's only real-life enchanted forest.
Through this collaboration, Trubridge has seen an increase in the sales of kitset lights as well as has received inquiries for future collaborations.
"We anticipate a busy season with Kiwis hitting the road and enjoying the freedom to explore their backyard and go further afield into the country – something that is impossible in many other countries.
"Last year we launched our biggest expansion with the launch of Altitude, a two-hour guided treetop experience and with this most recent addition we aim to make the Redwoods the ultimate playground for visitors, day or night."
TMBC Biosecurity Excellence Symposium 2020
This year's Tauranga Moana Biosecurity Capital symposium was its largest ever with just over 100 attendees.
The symposium covered the theme of Covid-19, including its impact, learnings and new thinking for biosecurity.
A diverse line-up of speakers related the many and varied parallels between a human health pandemic and a biosecurity incursion, with a focus on how we can strengthen our team of 5 million biosecurity champions.
TMBC thanks everyone who contributed to this year's event.
Historic agreement between retirement village industry and residents association
The Retirement Villages Association (RVA) and the Retirement Villages Residents Association of New Zealand (RVRANZ) have committed to closer collaboration and co-operation with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
"The interests of our village residents are at the heart of everything we do so it's great news that the RVA and RVRANZ will be working together to support the provision of a quality living environment for older New Zealanders," said Graham Wilkinson, president of the RVA.
As part of the MoU, the associations have agreed to develop a structure and process for a Resident Advisory Group (RAG) including members from both associations, which will meet regularly.
Peter Carr, president of the RVRANZ, welcomed the signing of the MoU.
"The overwhelming majority of residents in villages are satisfied and glad they moved to their village, but like any area where there are many personalities involved, sometimes an issue can arise.
The Residents Association looks forward to working with the RVA in developing best practice in a range of areas as well as encouraging debate about the industry model and potential options."
The RVRANZ will also work with the Commission for Financial Capability to finalise a short Resident Handbook for forming and conducting a resident committee and will continue their work in monitoring the effectiveness of the current legislation.
Sothebys recognised internationally
The NZ Sothebys International realty awards are calculated December 1 to November 30 each year based on sales performance of their sales associates.
From the entire NZ team of elite Sotheby's sales associates, Jeremy Pryor took out the number one position this year. It is only his second year with the company.
Over the last year, Pryor has set many records, in part due to the extended reach the international coverage NZSIR provides.
NZSIR were recognised last year as the best agency in the world by Forbes and Pryor is the best sales associate within that group.
Chloe Bailey, the office administrator also was recognised as the best in the business in New Zealand for the year.
Scholarship allows career in beekeeping to take flight
A Bay of Plenty teen has been given a boost into his dream career in beekeeping after receiving the 2020 Apiculture New Zealand Ron Mossop Youth Scholarship.
Ohope-based Angus Brenton-Rule was thrilled to win the scholarship which provides $2000 to support training and set up costs for new beekeepers, a one-year membership to industry body Apiculture NZ (ApiNZ) and attendance at ApiNZ's national industry conference.
"I was really, happy to get it. I didn't expect it, but I thought I might have had a small chance since I've been studying apiculture and fascinated by bees most of my life," he said.
While still at high school, Angus completed the level 3 New Zealand certificate of Apiculture run by Pacific Coast Technical Institute at Edgecumbe College. He was inspired by his tutor Daniel Martin and applied for beekeeping work when he finished Year 12 this year.
He received a number of job offers and took up a beekeeping assistant position with local company Golden Grove Apiaries for the current season. His employer Lorraine Stanley says Angus has made a great start in the industry.
"It's a crazy time of year to join a beekeeping team but Angus has persevered, showing a strong commitment to learning and absorbing as much information as he can glean from senior staff. He is destined to be part of the beekeeping world for quite some time to come," she said.
The ApiNZ Ron Mossop Youth Scholarship is named for industry pioneer Ron Mossop who started his family beekeeping business Mossop's Honey in the 1940s.
Son, Neil Mossop, says it is a privilege for the family to support enthusiastic and motivated young people like Angus into the industry.
New app to identify plants at risk from myrtle rust
People keen to support the fight against the fungal disease myrtle rust, which threatens many of Aotearoa-New Zealand's native trees, shrubs and climbers, now have a new tool to help identify vulnerable plants in the myrtle family.
Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research and Biosecurity New Zealand have partnered in the development of the NZ Myrtaceae Key – a free app that makes it easy for citizen biosecurity volunteers to identify susceptible plants and keep an eye out for myrtle rust.
Myrtle rust has already spread across the top half of the North Island and cases have been recorded as far south as Greymouth.
"We know how much damage plant pests and diseases are causing overseas, and science partnerships, like this, will help us stay ahead," said Veronica Herrera, MPI's diagnostics and surveillance services director.
The NZ Myrtaceae Key is a Lucid identification tool envisaged and funded by Biosecurity New Zealand and developed by botanists from Manaaki Whenua, the National Forestry Herbarium, Unitec, and other experts.
The app is easy-to-use, interactive and comprehensively illustrated with more than 1600 fully captioned images built in and it is downloadable for both iPhone and Android smartphones.
"The key includes more than 100 of the most commonly found Myrtaceae species, subspecies, hybrids and cultivars in New Zealand. Of these, 27 species, such as the iconic pōhutukawa, mānuka and kānuka, are indigenous to New Zealand: others, such as feijoa and eucalyptus, are exotics of economic importance," says Dr Herrera.
To use the app, the characteristics of the plant being identified are entered, the app then sorts plants possessing these features, and it rejects those that don't match. By progressively choosing additional features, the key will eventually narrow the results to just one or a few matching species.
Once you've correctly identified a plant in the myrtle family and if you think you see signs of the disease on it, don't touch it. If you have a camera or mobile phone you can take a photo and submit it to the iNaturalist website. Experts can check to confirm whether it is myrtle rust.
Capturing this information makes it available to agencies and scientists to analyse the rate of spread and observed impacts.
The NZ Myrtaceae Key is available from the Google Play (Android) store and the iPhone app store as a mobile (smartphone) app suitable for undertaking identifications in the field, or through a web-based browser hosted by Manaaki Whenua.
Jobs for Nature funding accelerates freshwater improvement in Bay
Freshwater improvement efforts in four key catchments areas of the Bay of Plenty will be scaled up and accelerated thanks to an injection of $3 million funding from the Jobs for Nature programme.
The Ministry for the Environment and Bay of Plenty Regional Council announced this week that over the next two years the Accelerating Bay of Plenty Freshwater Improvement project will employ around 135 people to fence 174 km of private land and plant up to 450,000 native plants to protect the region's waterways and enhance native biodiversity.
"It's great to see this example of central and local government working together with landowners and iwi to put the health of freshwater first," said Environment Minister David Parker.
The catchments are all experiencing high levels of contaminants from sedimentation and livestock nutrients, which is impacting ecosystem health and activities such as swimming and kai gathering.
The catchments covered in the project are the Pongakawa River and tributaries of the Waihī Estuary, the Paraiti and Kaituna, Nukuhou and Rotorua Te Arawa Lakes.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council integrated catchments general manager Chris Ingle said it was a major win for the region.
"Fencing our waterways on a large scale is an important part of the process to manage nutrient levels and improve downstream water quality.
"These projects were selected because they demonstrate immediate job creation, significant environmental outcomes, iwi and community engagement and/or partnership."
Most of the work will focus on excluding livestock from waterways, wetlands and lakes, creating native planting buffers, and retiring and planting of erosion-prone land and gullies.
The Government funding will support Bay of Plenty Regional Council and around 45 landowners to implement these new requirements.
Private land and property owners, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and the One Billion Trees fund will contribute a combined $3 million towards the project, with the Ministry for Environment's Jobs for Nature programme funding matching the investment.
The $1.245 billion Jobs for Nature programme is a Government initiative, creating nature-based jobs to benefit the environment and support the economic recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Charity golf event raises money for scholarships
Bay of Plenty women are being helped into tertiary training thanks to scholarships from New Horizons for Women Trust with funds donated by Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology.
Toi Ohomai raised $20,000 for the Trust at its annual Charity Golf Day. This is the third event of its kind and this year was held at Arikikapakapa Rotorua Golf Club, with all proceeds going to New Horizons for Women Trust.
The tournament saw more than 120 golfers from local businesses across the rohe take to the course.
Toi Ohomai chief executive Dr Leon Fourie said the event was a great success and it was an absolute privilege to hand over a cheque for $20,000 to New Horizons for Women Trust.
This year the Institute welcomed Datacom on board as naming rights sponsor, as well as having Holland Beckett on board as the lunch sponsor and Synergy Technologies on board as the dinner sponsor.
Westpac, Bay of Plenty Rugby Union, University of Waikato, Priority One, BOP Plumbing and Gas, Cooney Lees Morgan, Abodo Wood, Red Stag Timber, ITAB, and OCS also came on board as hole and golf cart sponsors.
Rotorua's Ngapera Tiopira was one of the 2019 New Horizons for Women Trust scholarship recipients.
The 23-year-old was studying a Level 4 tertiary skills course when she applied for the scholarship and said she was shocked when she found out her application was successful.
Ngapera said the scholarship took some pressure off the financial strain of the impending course.
December Economic Monitor report
Priority One's Economic Monitor Report for December showed the region's GDP had been growing by an average of 4.9 per cent over the last six years to reach $9.1 billion, setting the Western Bay in good stead to buffer any economic shocks.
The estimated GDP loss for 2020 was 1.7 per cent so far.
The unemployment rate varied for the Western Bay over time, reaching a low of 3.4 per cent in 2019, and rising slightly to 3.7 per cent in 2020 so far, showing employment levels remain high this year
Visitor spend in the Western Bay of Plenty was $917 million for the year ending October 2020, a decrease of 6 per cent on October 2019, yet performing better than other areas more reliant on international visitors.
Advertised jobs in the Western Bay have been steadily increasing since June across both TradeMe and Seek, showing a healthy appetite for hiring new staff in all industries, particularly trades.