Rotorua's business stars have one final shot to prove to a panel of judges they are among the best and brightest the city has to offer.

The finalists for the 2017 Rotorua Business Excellence Awards have been announced, with individuals and companies up for awards across 13 categories.

"We are excited with the calibre of the entrants which is indicative of the excellent economic growth seen in Rotorua," said Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Allison Lawton.

Chamber president John McRae is one on a 12-strong judging panel.

He said the quality of the entrants seemed to get stronger every year and judges had been hugely impressed by the talent, with a lot of start-up businesses entering.


"We've seen some really creative and innovative young talent which is great for our future."

He said choosing the finalists had not been an easy process although the decision in the end was unanimous.

Entrants had sent in a business plan then some of the judges had gone out on site to see the business in action and sit down with the owners.

Those that didn't make the finals would be given feedback and areas to work on - and encouraged to come back next year.

Later this month, the finalists would give a presentation to the judging panel following which the judges would have the "great debate" to decide the winners, Mr McRae said.

It's a process that could be nerve-wracking for some, despite the judges being "a friendly bunch", he said.

Mr McRae said they were looking for the 'X-factor' when judging.

"A business that knows their stuff . . . really creative . . . being able to differentiate themselves, play to their strengths."


Winners will be announced on Saturday, October 7 at the Westpac Rotorua Business Excellence Awards Gala Dinner at the Rotorua Energy Events Centre.

Ms Lawton said she hoped about 500 to 550 people would attend the evening of "glitz and glamour".

"It will be a fantastic night."

Four musical acts are lined up for the gala dinner which will have local businessman Steve Pinder, most recently of Harcourts Dancing with the Stars fame, as MC.

Singer and saxophone combo Yulia and Michael will entertain guests as they arrive.
During the evening there will be performances by Shihad frontman Jon Toogood and The Love Doctors, led by Sons of Zion lead singer Rio Panapa.

DJ Ari will round out the night - as the women ditch their heels and the men loosen their ties to hit the dance floor.

Tickets are available at

Deloitte Service Provider Award
Rotorua Drycleaners & Apparelmaster
Digital Base Camp

Pukeroa Oruawhata Group Retail Award
Drapes by Design
Artisan Cafe

Rotorua Daily Post Hospitality Award
Rotorua Top 10 Holiday Park
Holiday Inn
Jet Park Hotel

Rotorua Weekender Attractions Award
Adventure Playground
3D Trick Art Gallery
AJS / Strike Zone, Mega Zone, Time Zone

Rotorua Lakes Council Emerging Business Award
Pipi Ma
Artisan Cafe
AJS / Strike Zone, Mega Zone, Time Zone

The Hits 97.5 Community Organisation Business Award
Rotorua Chinese Community of Commerce
Toi Ohomai Charity House Project
Rotorua Multicultural Council
Nga Pumanawa e Waru

Holland Beckett Innovation Business Award
Pipi Ma
3D Trick Art Gallery
Digital Base Camp

Talent ID Employee of the Year
David Remmerswaal, Dubzz Digital Marketing
Margaret Honey, Wildlands
Gretchen Livingstone, Regent of Rotorua

Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology Emerging Young Leader of the Year
Jasmine Adams, Rotorua Top 10 Holiday Park
Kate Bone, Love Your Bones
Matt Browning, Digital Base Camp

Trustpower Customer Service
Rotorua Drycleaners & Apparelmaster
Holiday Inn
Rotorua Top 10 Holiday Park
Liquor King

The Arista Group Social Responsibility
Rotorua Drycleaners & Apparel Master
McDowell's The Professionals

Bay Connections Excellence in Sustainable Practice
Rotorua Drycleaners & Apparelmaster

Ministry of Education Young Entrepreneur of the Year
Sophie Glasgow, WHHS
Caitlin Smith, WHHS
Zayna Patel, Dikisha Dahya, and Bonnie Simonds, JPC

Red Stag Rotorua Business Person of the Year
To be announced at Gala Event