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Pultron Composites has been named ExportNZ Hawke’s Bay ASB Exporter of the Year. In addition, the Gisborne company also won the T&G Global Best Established Business Award.

Pultron Composites were presented with the award last night by ASB Client Director, Tyler Ashworth, to a record sold-out awards dinner at Toitoi Hawke’s Bay Arts and Events Centre. The judges were unanimous in awarding Pultron the ASB Exporter of the Year award.

Pultron have navigated some of the most difficult markets in the world and negotiated significant joint ventures; their innovative products which will drive lasting material change. Pultron are constantly looking at how they can do things better, not only from building greater, stronger and more resilient products but also how their own staff can grow within the business. The combination of being a people centric business alongside a deep commitment to the community, aligned with exceptional products and a focus on fostering relationships, makes Pultron a local gem that the Tairāwhiti Gisborne region should be proud of.

ExportNZ’s Amanda Liddle said: “Year after year we are so fortunate to have the support of such high calibre and rigorous judges. We are grateful for their time – a huge amount of work and preparation goes in ahead of the awards evening to make sure exporters receive the recognition they deserve. Hawke’s Bay boasts a huge range of export talent and, as ever, it was incredibly difficult to determine who should win each award. My congratulations to Pultron Composites on an amazing and exceptional export growth journey.”

In the award citation, the judges noted that Pultron have achieved remarkable export sales growth, having built significant and strategic partnerships in key export markets across the Middle East and North America. This has required vision, courage, patience and a long-term commitment to growing the business offshore.

Pultron’s unique engineering products contribute to some of the most innovative infrastructure projects around the world and through to well-known consumer products such as snowmobiles and trampolines.

The judges awarded the Best Emerging Exporter award to Senator Boats. Senator Boats’ growth in the Australian market has come by executing a clearly defined go-to-market strategy partnering with Marine Dealers to deliver to local boating needs. They have a clearly defined route-to-market, a highly sought-after quality product and are passionate about supporting the growth of their people whilst also growing the business.

With demand continuing to grow, they continue to innovate and win industry awards with their boat designs, setting the business up for long-term success.


Innovation category a tough judge

The excellence in innovation category proved to be one of the hardest to judge this year, with the judges ultimately deciding to recognise two very different concepts.

A mature and internationally backed T&G Global have delivered innovation on a scale hard to ever imagine will be replicated in this region. Their state-of-the-art Whakatu packhouse brings new meaning to technical innovation, product quality, process automation and efficiency. Innovation began with the Envy apple, supported by an incredible packhouse, resulting in an outstandingly fresh, tasty and traceable Envy apple for customers around the globe, all from the true home of the world’s best apples – Hawke’s Bay.

Animals Like Us, a new business, have done an exemplary job diving deep into consumer and market insights to understand, define and execute on the opportunities around Premium Petfood. Their work in this space has allowed them to identify a clear gap in a crowded market and chart a path to global success and growth.


Inspirational women acknowledged

The inaugural Newstalk ZB Inspiring Women in Export award was won by Sally Gallagher, Founder of Apollo Foods which houses The Apple Press and Boring Oat Milk brands.

The other finalists were Anna Holdsworth, Pultron Composites, Sue de Bievre, Beany, and Rebecca Klee, Animals Like Us. All four finalists are exceptional leaders in themselves, with a passion to support the community and inspire people to be the best they can be.

It was the long-term vision that edged Sally to the top; her desire to create a business that the Hawkes Bay can be proud of – a sustainable business with the infrastructure to support it, is community centric and people driven. Sally showed true emotion, recognised she is still learning, and demonstrated the desire and drive to hear past and present employees say “that’s a really cool company to work for”.

The Unsung Heroes Award, which recognises work behind the scenes in exporting companies, was shared by Cameron Taylor from Taylor Corp, Robyn Brady of Pure Kiwi International, and Danny and Marilyn Bearsley from Bearsley Exports. The judges said they couldn’t single out one person, so decided to recognise all three individuals “who, in their own way, each make a significant difference to exporting in the region.”

The Judges’ Choice Award, a discretionary category, was won by Wisewool. The judges were impressed by the passion and vision to transform a traditional raw material and industry into a future-focused product with global appeal. The origins of Wisewool go all the way back to exporting wool to the UK in 1894. With the prices of wool falling, and returns to farmers dropping, Wisewool have taken the opportunity and managed to turn the humble wool knop into a premium ‘ingredient’ in luxury upholstery products. They have researched the global opportunity and have a bright future ahead including plans to build a large factory in Tairāwhiti Gisborne to fuel their growth.

ASB’s Paul Gestro said this year’s finalists covered a broad spectrum of industry and international markets.

“These awards are a great chance to celebrate some of the country’s most innovative and inspiring companies and the achievements of the Hawke’s Bay export sector. It was particularly exciting to honour the many inspiring women in export for the first time this year. Congratulations to all of this year’s finalists and award winners – the region should be proud of these amazing achievements.”

Photo: (L-R) Jason Gunn, MC; Jasper Holdsworth, CEO Pultron; Tyler Ashworth, Client Director, ASB; Anna Holdsworth, Pultron Composites; Amanda Liddle ExportNZ.

The 2023 ExportNZ Hawke’s Bay Award Winners

  • 2023 ASB Hawke’s Bay Exporter of the Year : Pultron Composites
  • T&G Global Best Established Business Award: Pultron Composites
  • ContainerCo Best Emerging Exporter Award: Senator Boats
  • Southeast Asia Centre of Asia-Pacific Excellence in Innovation Award: T&G Global / Animals Like Us
  • Newstalk ZB Inspiring Women in Export: Sally Gallagher, Founder of Apollo Foods
  • Judges’ Choice Award: Wisewool
  • Unsung Heroes Award: Cameron Taylor (Taylor Corp), Robyn Brady (Pure Kiwi International), Danny and Marilyn Bearsley (Bearsley Exports) 
Glenn Baker

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


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