New Zealand Frost Fans has been named ExportNZ Hawke’s Bay ASB Exporter of the Year for 2021.
The Hastings manufacturer was presented with the award on July 29 by ASB Executive General Manager for Corporate Banking, Nigel Annett, at the sold-out awards dinner at the Toi Toi Hawke’s Bay Arts and Event Centre.
The judges said that NZ Frost Fans set a new standard for a growth company that was well balanced – a key factor that saw them take out the big prize.
Earlier in the evening, NZ Frost Fans won the T&G Global Best Established Award, going head-to-head with the other category winners for the top award: Kiwigarden, producers of nutritious kids’ snacks from Hastings (winner of the ContainerCo Best Emerging Exporter award), and Future Products Group, designers of food display solutions based in Napier (winner of the Southeast Asia Centre of Asia-Pacific Excellence in Innovation award).
The judges were NZTE director Wayne Norrie, ASB Head of International Trade Fergus Lee, Callaghan Innovation Specialist Jenny Brown, Napier Port Chairman Alasdair Macleod, and NZTE Regional Manager Katrina Buscke.
In the award citation, the judges said New Zealand Frost Fans stood out from the many strong entries. “The strong and local partner ecosystem, innovative production and shipping systems, and IP in their blades combine to showcase a very well-balanced company with strong capability and growth prospects. Despite many challenges with sheer growth, logistics, and unable to travel to many of its markets, they have performed in an exemplary way.”
The judges were impressed by Best Emerging Exporter Kiwigarden’s ability to seek external advice and act on it, that “despite difficulties through Covid, they have remained focused on their vision, gathered excellent skills around them, and made excellent progress. The pieces of the puzzle are coming together, and the future looks rosy.”
The judges praised the Excellent in Innovation category winner, Future Products Group, for showing innovation in every step of their business model – from selling, gaining customer insights, solutions, and “boldly taking on a large competitive market accustomed to low-cost products with a high-cost high-value solution.”
The other 2021 finalists were: Wood Mallets (Otane), NZ Mecates (Wairoa), National Distillery Company (Napier), Nibblish (Havelock North), NZ Juice Company (Whakatu), The True Honey Co (Dannevirke), Mt Erin Group (Hastings), GisVin (Gisborne).
The Unsung Heroes Award, which recognises work behind the scenes of exporting companies, was shared by Mike Jones, of Gisvin, Simon Beale, of T&G Global, and Fidel Russ, of Wood Mallets. The judges said they couldn’t single out anyone, so decided to recognise the three businesses and individuals “who, in their own way, each make a significant difference to exporting in the region.”
The Judge’s Choice Award, a discretionary category, was won by Ilana Cheiban of NZ Mecates. The judges said she had done “a supreme job” in carving out a company from scratch, and unanimously wanted to acknowledge NZ Mecates.
ASB’s Nigel Annett said he was impressed by the calibre of finalists. “This is the seventh year we have sponsored the ExportNZ ASB Hawke’s Bay Awards, and every year we are impressed by the quality of the entrants. The past 18 months have been uniquely challenging for businesses, and the way this year’s finalists have responded to this is inspiring. Our local companies do an amazing job on the world stage, and we’re incredibly proud to play a supporting role in this.
ExportNZ Hawke’s Bay Executive Officer Amanda Liddle said the innovation and hard work on display by the record number of entries was inspiring, considering many had faced their most difficult trading year for many years. “We were also thrilled with the wide variety of entries and shows what diverse businesses we have in the export sector, and congratulations to the finalists. We are also thankful for the support for our sponsors who help make the awards possible, Hawke’s Bay Airport, NZTE, Great Things Grow Here, Napier City Council, Grundy Productions, and Trinity Hill.”
Business Central Chief Executive Simon Arcus said he was blown away by the interest in the awards and the quality of entries, especially considering the trading environment. “This year, it’s more important than others to take time to celebrate business and acknowledge the critical contribution of export to the regional and national economy. Even in the face of the ongoing challenges from Covid-19, our exporters continue to do well on the world stage, and it shows through in the quality of this year’s winners and finalists.
“They do us proud.”
The Full List of 2021 ExportNZ Hawke’s Bay Award Winners:
2021 ASB Hawke’s Bay Exporter of the Year: New Zealand Frost Fans
T&G Global Best Established Award: New Zealand Frost Fans
ContainerCo Best Emerging Exporter Award: Kiwigarden
Southeast Asia Centre of Asia-Pacific Excellence in Innovation Award: Future Products Group
Unsung Heroes Award: Mike Jones, of Gisvin, Simon Beale, of T&G Global, and Fidel Russ, of Wood Mallets
Judge’s Choice Award: Ilana Cheiban, NZ Mecates