Gregg Brown's work life involves a lot of balancing.

On one hand, he needs to oversee and invest in the commercial business sector and on the other there's his passion and commitment to Rotorua through the not-for-profit sector.

He knows from experience that letting the scales tip too much in either direction creates some headaches.

Business-wise it has been a very full year for him and his team. In October Brown was humbled to be named Business Person of the Year at the Rotorua Westpac Business Awards.


The next step in the business plan came to fruition soon afterwards, with the purchase of a commercial building in Riri St to house a prep kitchen for both Capers and the Pig and Whistle.

Brown said the kitchen would free up space and create flexibility for the executive chef and his team to meet the overflowing demands of the two on-site hospitality kitchens. He's confident the payoff for the business and for Rotorua will be significant.

As for his win at the business awards, Brown said it was still sinking in.

"There are many people I think that have more success than me in business and there are others that do much more than me in the community, but I guess the award's criteria and strength is in recognising the balance between the two."

He's now eyeing up a new not-for-profit venture. After several years as president of the Rotorua Mountain Bike Club, and after that the Rotorua Trails Trust, and stepping down from the BayTrust this year, he admits he has a bit of free time in the not-for-profit space which he's deciding what to do with.

With the idea of a "Greenfields" project appealing, Brown is considering the logistics of developing a native plant nursery to be run on a not-for-profit social enterprise model.

He'd like to see it involve planting in and around water to help with water quality, as well as roadside planting to improve the general aesthetics.

Inspired by a similar model in Raglan, Brown, who has been a member of the Lakes Water Quality Society for the past two decades, says it seems like an obvious move.

He's also keen to do some work around Rotorua's CBD, and coming up with a plan for future developments.

Rotorua is still where his passion lies, and he admits he didn't expect the Pig and Whistle to be such a long-term business when he first came on board to consult and turn it back into the black.

"I thought it would be long term but didn't think it would be this long term. I still enjoy it and opportunities remain."