Zespri is exporting red kiwifruit to China for the first time.
The red variety will be available in New Zealand stores shortly, with the first shipments scheduled to arrive in Singapore, Japan and China in early April.
"We're also excited to be providing consumers in China with their first opportunity to try Zespri Red Kiwifruit," says Zespri's chief global supply officer Alastair Hulbert.
The news comes as the first shipment of what is expected to be a record season of New Zealand-grown Zespri kiwifruit was sent to Tokyo and Busan earlier this week.
The fruit was aboard the MV Kakariki, the second of three new specialised reefer vessels built by Fresh Carriers to ship New Zealand-grown kiwifruit to Zespri's Asian markets, with the ship expected to complete its maiden voyage in early April.
Hulbert says MV Kakariki is the first of 57 planned charter reefer vessels under Zespri's shipping programme this season, up from the 49 charter vessels used last season.
This season will see five sailings to North Europe, 12 to the Mediterranean and 40 to Zespri's Asian markets. Zespri also expects to send around 18,000 containers of kiwifruit.
"We're expecting to supply around 177 million trays of kiwifruit this season, or approximately 700,000 tonnes, which will be a record-breaking crop of New Zealand-grown Zespri Kiwifruit," Hulbert says.
"Our latest forecasts indicate we could potentially reach 100 million trays of Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit this season, which would be a significant milestone for the industry and reflects the growing popularity of the variety since its commercialisation 10 years ago."
Last call for apprentice challenge entries
Bay of Plenty carpentry apprentices have less than a week to get their entries in to the NZ Certified Builders Apprentice Challenge sponsored by ITM.
Apprentices are encouraged to get their entries in for the annual challenge before the deadline on March 26.
The regional heats of the competition will be held on April 10, with prizes up for grabs and the winner of each going on to compete for the coveted title of national champion in Wellington in June.
All apprentices that compete in the regional heats will receive a prize pack and additional prizes will be awarded to first, second and third place-getters.
Regional winners also win an all-expenses-paid trip to the national final, held at the NZCB Annual Conference and Expo, where they will compete for the Ken Read Memorial Trophy and $50,000 worth of prizes.
Held in 19 locations across the country, the competition is open to any apprentices employed by NZCB member builders or who are enrolled with Industry Training Association Building (ITAB).
NZCB business development manager South Island Nick Matthews said as last year's competition was cancelled due to Covid-19, there was a lot of anticipation building for the 2021 challenge among NZCB member builders and apprentices around the country.
"This means the stakes are higher than ever before and we are looking forward to seeing a couple years' worth of talent go hammer-to-hammer to compete for the NZCB Apprentice Challenge Sponsored by ITM national title."
Apprentices can enter by visiting https://apprenticechallenge.nz/how-to-get-involved/ and filling out the entry form.
Entries must be received by March 26.
CoreLogic launches new commercial rebuild estimate calculator
CoreLogic has launched Cordell Commercial Estimator, an innovative new commercial rebuild estimate calculator.
The calculator aims to help New Zealand's financial services, commercial property and insurance sectors create a better customer experience and bind insurance policies quickly, by generating a fact-based estimate in minutes.
Cordell Commercial Estimator is one of the first tools of its kind available industry-wide in New Zealand to estimate rebuild costs for the majority of commercial buildings.
CoreLogic's New Zealand country manager Simone Moors said they were proud of how much this was going to help their clients, the industries they support and the people and businesses who want a better way to own and protect their property and assets.
"We saw a need to help people with a better way to do things and have developed a solution that's faster, easier and more customer-friendly with ultimately reduced risk.
"The experience for insurers, commercial insurance brokers and their clients will be far superior, saving time, money and effort and ensuring that people have the right level of cover, and that's important."
Cordell Commercial Estimator is a commercial property rebuild calculator, providing a rebuild estimate in minutes and at no cost to the end customer.
It follows in the footsteps of CoreLogic's residential rebuild estimate calculator, Cordell Sum Sure, which powers home insurance decisions for all of New Zealand's major insurers.
The insurer or broker simply enters property attributes collected from the owner and calculates. This reduces friction in the insurance sales process, speeds up quoting, and creates a superior experience for insurance customers.
Cordell Commercial Estimator also makes renewals much quicker; previous estimates are saved, and at renewal time the insurer or broker simply pulls up the old estimate, updates the information as required and recalculates.
Former cruise tour business gives back to community
Tauranga's transport and tour business, Mount Classic Tours, has pivoted from transporting international cruise tour passengers to school sports teams, community clubs and retirement home residents.
As a thank you to the community that has supported the cruise tour business for 20 years, Mount Classic Tours has offered free, guided and chauffeured transport for 62 selected "good causes" from July 2020.
Managing director and founder Ian Holroyd said the company has donated $39,500 in free transport to 2162 Bay locals they thought would appreciate exploring the region again.
"Especially after the long period of Covid-19 lockdown and limitations on travel," he said.
"Whether it was a short, local trip or further away for retirement villages, social clubs, care homes and Probus groups, we were happy to offer this service for our community."
After Covid-19 forced New Zealand's borders shut and the country into nationwide
lockdown, the cruise tour business' 30 drivers could not work but were kept employed by the business through the Government's wage subsidy.
Tourism Bay of Plenty chief executive Kristin Dunne said Mount Classic Tours
was a fantastic example of how tourism can give back.
"I applaud their commitment to their staff and community in such trying times."
Prior to the border closures, Mount Classic Tours focused on cruise ship shore excursions offered across ports in New Zealand and Australia through its Shore
Trips & Tours business.
Holroyd pivoted to the domestic market by purchasing domestic group travel business Hinterland Tours in July 2020.
Hinterland Tours offers special discounts to Bay of Plenty locals to encourage them to explore the country.
Local workplaces take top spots in bike challenge
Tauranga City Council and local consultancy offices helped their national organisations take top spots in February's nationwide bike competition and also nabbed top spots in regional categories.
Tauranga's Beca, Tonkin + Taylor, Aurecon, GHD and Pattle Delamore offices all contributed to their workplaces taking top three spots on the national leaderboard for organisations their size.
Lysaght Consultants and Tauranga City Council both placed fourth nationally for workplaces their size and Rotorua Trails Trust was third nationally for organisations with three-to-six staff.
The nationwide month-long Aotearoa Bike Challenge is organised by Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency and the international company Love to Ride and is supported locally by Tauranga City Council. The aim is to get more people choosing to bike as transport.
During February, 203 workplaces in the Bay of Plenty took part with 2599 participants logging 27,753 rides and travelling 410,826km. Across the region, riders saved 19,936kg of carbon dioxide emissions on commuter trips.
The challenge is complemented by Sport BOP's Bike Month, supported by Travel Safe, which provides people of all ages with opportunities to improve their cycling skills and increase their confidence to ride their bikes. Events included learn to ride sessions, guided historic rides, maintenance workshops and the annual Go by Bike Day.
Travel Safe team leader Sonia Lynds said the Aotearoa Bike Challenge and Bike Month were great ways to change people's travel habits in a positive way while promoting an active lifestyle.
Spark encourages small business owners to re-charge their best asset – themselves
New research conducted by Spark has revealed poor health and wellbeing among New Zealand's small and medium business owners.
A total 67 per cent of 300 people surveyed felt the stress of work negatively impacted their physical health, levels of happiness and personal life.
The impact of Covid-19 on small businesses in the last year is undeniable, exacerbating stress as businesses have had to adapt at pace to changing alert levels, do more with less, and account for changing market dynamics and fluctuations in their customers' habits.
Spark works with more than 100,000 small to medium business customers and has seen firsthand how tough the last year has been.
While 87 per cent of those surveyed recognise that prioritising health and wellness in the workplace is hugely beneficial to their businesses, cost and time were major barriers that prevented them from being able to do this.
This was the inspiration behind the creation of Recharge by Spark – an exclusive health and wellness programme for Spark Business customers.
Created in partnership with some of New Zealand's leading SMBs, the programme aims to improve the health of business owners through three wellness pillars: nourish, move and calm.
Have your say on how Tauranga City Council buys and sells property
Tauranga City Council buys, sells, leases or transfers property for a number of different reasons and now it is seeking feedback on those decisions.
The draft Acquisitions and Disposals Policy is now open for submissions.
The reasons for the buying and selling of property by the council include public works such as roads and other infrastructure, green space or recreational purposes, and managing land identified for future public use.
The buying and selling of property by council is called acquisition and disposal, the council said in a media statement.
There are currently three policies that set out how the council manages this. The opportunity to streamline this to one single policy was identified as part of the council's regular review process.
The draft policy was approved for consultation by the council in December 2020. An overview of the proposed draft policy, the draft policy and an online submission form are available at www.tauranga.govt.nz/ADP.
Paper copies are also available at the customer service centre at 91 Willow St and in libraries. Consultation runs until 5pm on April 15. Council will use the community's feedback to propose a final policy for adoption by council, likely mid to late 2021.
Australian tech company Pegasus makes strategic acquisition to support NZ expansion
Mount Maunganui-based company iskills has been purchased by a leading workforce competency management platform in Australia.
The competency management specialist and training consultancy service was launched from iskills managing director Sharon Macquarie's kitchen table 22 years ago in Pāpāmoa.
The business has become a well-known NZQA accredited training provider and competency manager across several industries and employs 27 staff at its Mount Maunganui office.
Now, iskills has been bought by Australian tech company Pegasus.
Macquarie said she was looking forward to expanding their industry expertise with Pegasus and "to continue offering real value to our clients as a leader in competency management".
The acquisition marks the next phase of growth as Pegasus expands its services in New Zealand, where the Silicon Valley-backed company manages safe workforces in its software for clients including Lion, Fletcher Construction, Chorus, Otis Elevators, Hilton Foods, and City FM.
Pegasus chief executive officer Adam Boyle said the strategic acquisition will allow the company to enhance the support it offers its New Zealand clients while establishing an important presence there.
"Having the iskills team join us means we are offering clients the local support and experience they expect and working in partnership with an organisation, which shares our values and safe worker mandate."
Pegasus has worked with iskills for almost two years, and Boyle said finding synergies between the businesses has been the core of the partnership.
"iskills is the New Zealand leader in competency management frameworks, defining the skills required to work safely in high-risk industries.
"This perfectly complements the Pegasus objective to connect competent workers across a network of industries, employers, and clients in our software platform."
Together, Pegasus and iskills manage the safety, training, and competency of over 3.5 million workers for more than 70,000 companies, offering workforce solutions and managed services in Australia and New Zealand.
Tower Insurance is expanding operations in Rotorua
Tower Insurance is looking to bolster its operational resilience by increasing its operations in Rotorua, following the Covid-19 lockdowns and disruptions over the past year.
Tower Insurance is set to significantly expand its operational support centre in Rotorua, providing the opportunity for people to start a career in financial services and insurance locally.
"Delivering consistency of service for our customers is paramount, so expanding our business to Rotorua is an exciting evolution for Tower that will help us to navigate the challenges presented by Covid-19 lockdowns," says Craig Burgess, Rotorua hiring manager.
"Understanding our customers is a top priority to Tower. Those already part of the Rotorua Tower whānau are some of the best so we're particularly excited to bolster our team with some new local talent."
This expansion has seen six sales positions filled in the past couple of weeks, with another 12 open for recruitment now, plus a new premise secured.
One of the recent hires part of the residential sales team, Mikayla Hornell, says joining Tower has been both exciting and educational.
"I'm delighted to be starting my career in financial services with Tower. I've learnt so much already on the data and digital platforms that we work with. We're a super energetic and close-knit team and I'm excited to see the team expand over the coming weeks."
The roles will be looking to hire people who are starting out in their career or looking to pivot career paths.
Tauranga commissioners to engage business community in Chamber event
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce is hosting the region's first public event with the new Tauranga City Council Commissioners this month.
Business @ Breakfast is a way for the business community to connect directly with the commissioners on their plans for the city. It is timely as public submissions on the Long Term Plan will open early May.
Chamber events manager Anne Pankhurst says the commissioners are keen to hear from the business community, to understand what challenges business owners are experiencing when it comes to doing business in the city and also what is going really well.
Chief executive Matt Cowley says the commissioners understand the value of engaging with the Chamber and its business community early, as their input will be key to upcoming decisions around issues such as infrastructure, traffic and the future of the CBD.
Business @ Breakfast is being held at Trinity Wharf on Tuesday, March 30 from 7.30am-9am.
The chamber is also hosting our monthly BA5 networking event at Tauranga City Council on Wednesday, April 7 at 5.15pm. Tickets for both events are on sale through the chamber website: www.tauranga.org.nz/events-calendar.