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Having attended the recent ExportNZ ASB Wellington Export Awards, Josh Tan has been reminded of Kiwi exporters’ commitment to sustainability and diversity.

A lot goes into great exports – navigating new market entry and sustainability strategies, adapting your product/service, foreign legal and regulatory compliance systems, cultural and language barriers and much more.

It isn’t an easy gig, but we have plenty of outstanding exporters right here in New Zealand.

The recent 2023 ExportNZ ASB Wellington Export Awards celebrated the finest the region has to offer, with everything that makes a good exporter great on full display.

Three key features stood out to me on the night:

  • Many successful exporters were embedding sustainability within their businesses.
  • The impressive sector diversity that exists within our export community.
  • The level of support for the industry that comes from both the private and public sectors.


Leading the way in sustainability

Kiwis have always backed Kiwi-owned businesses because they represent us on the world stage. Those with our full support are the ones who best exemplify the qualities our country is well-known for around the world.

Among the Export Award finalists was a constant value – sustainability. Businesses like Garage Project, Antipodes, and Method all took out awards on the night, while sustainable shoe manufacturer, Orba Shoes, were finalists in the sustainability category.

Excelling as an exporter while prioritising sustainable ways of working (be it manufacturing, packaging, or supply chain processes) sets an example for others to follow. These are the types of companies who are not only reducing their carbon footprint, but enhancing New Zealand’s global reputation as responsible exporters too.

Take, for example, our Wellington Exporter of the Year award winner Cogo – a carbon management solutions provider and Wellington-based service exporter. In exporting their expertise and helping businesses understand and measure their environmental impact, Cogo is challenging the status quo while laying the foundations for future exporters to operate more sustainably.


Diversity in products, services and talent

There is plenty of conversation around diversifying our export markets, but having a range of export sectors is just as important. It is exciting to see the diversity in products and services we export around the world continue to grow. This diversity exemplifies the richness in talent and the broad expertise operating from our remote corner of the world.

Finalists ranged from our primary industry to creative ventures, established industry leaders with decades in the game to emerging startups. Businesses like Taylor Preston Ltd, who took out the Best Established Exporter Award, a well-established Wellington company exporting premium meat from their processing facility in Ngauranga Gorge; Betacraft, a family-run workwear exporter based in Pahiatua; HNRY, Wellington’s next big thing in the fintech space; and Human Dynamo – with more than 30 years’ experience in fabrication and model making.


Support from inside and out

Exporting doesn’t happen in isolation and following a few turbulent years for the industry, the support for our exporters is strong among the private sector as well as within government agencies.

Whether you’re on the Awards banner as a supporter of these events like ASB or NZTE, or a believer in the product or service they offer, these and other support services are crucial to supporting the export community.

That also goes for the Wellington Chamber of Commerce and us here at ExportNZ – where our job is to advocate for our exporters, support them and their needs, strengthen our ecosystem across New Zealand, and celebrate the individual wins and collective successes.

It’s the success stories from great enterprises that make me proud to be representing exporters across Aotearoa New Zealand.


Josh Tan is ExportNZ’s Executive Director.

Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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