Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Whittaker's Hawke's Bay-based chief marketing manager Philip Poole are headline speakers at the third annual Hawke's Bay Export Awards next week.

Mr Joyce will open the dinner and Mr Poole will be keynote speaker at the June 28 event at Napier Conference Centre.

"Whittaker's is a most successful exporter in a category that is very, very competitive, so I'm sure he will be sharing some compelling advice and learnings for both our experienced and budding exporters," said ExportNZ Hawke's Bay executive officer Amanda Liddle.

"If you can succeed in selling chocolate in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Hong Kong, China, Republic of Korea, Middle East and Taiwan, and even as far away as the UK, then you really do know what you're doing. And of course everyone likes a story about a chocolate factory."


Mr Poole said exports were critical to the region's economic success.

"The long-term sustainable success of the export business depends upon great products being developed into great brands."

Whittaker's has won the award for being New Zealand's Most Trusted Brand and New Zealand's Most Loved Brand for the past six years.

Mr Poole spent a large part of his career with Unilever in South Africa, Britain, Thailand and New Zealand, and was involved in the marketing of brands including Persil, Dove, Rexona and Sunsilk.

Before joining Whittaker's he was marketing director for the New Zealand Lotteries Commission for five years.

Up for grabs are the Tomoana Food Hub Innovation in Export Award, Most Sustainable in Business, and two new categories - Napier Port Industry Trail Blazer Award, and NZL Container Co Emerging Exporter Award.

The winners of the first three categories will then contest the supreme award of the ASB Exporter of the Year.

Award entrants must have a minimum of $100,000 in export revenue and are required to describe their company and its export achievements and agree to be visited by the judges.

The judges are ExportNZ Hawke's Bay chairman Alasdair MacLeod, NZ Trade and Enterprise customer director Amanda Martin, ASB head of international trade Mike Atkins and Wayne Norrie, chairman of the Hi Tech Trust and chairman of Online Republic.

Ms Liddle said having Mr Joyce open the dinner was recognition of the high standing the awards had achieved in just their third year.