2017 Winners

Business Excellence Award - Winner

The Real Dog Company

The owners of The Real Dog Company—the winning business in the Business Excellence Award category—took up the challenge to craft a unique business that follows their dreams.

With a genuine love for sled dogs, Rose and Nigel Voice have created a strong, two-pronged business model: offering memorable sled-dog adventure experiences, and manufacturing and selling first-class dog equipment.

The innovative company specialises in making harnesses, as well as collars and leads, all meticulously manufactured in their onsite workshop. Their products have won two new farm equipment awards.
 
With the largest kennel of Alaskan Malamutes in the Southern Hemisphere, domestic and international visitors enjoy opportunities to get `hands-on’ with the dogs, sled-riding or on back-pack walks or kennel tours.
 
For the judges, this authentic, thriving business truly captures Central Otago’s spirit and strongly aligns with regional values.  These factors—together with an enduring focus on innovation and quality—make the Real Dog Company a winner.

Business Excellence Award - Highly Commended

Gary Anderson Solutions for Sound & Vision

Gary Anderson Solutions for Sound & Vision’s success comes from doing the fundamentals well.
 
The business’s early adoption of online retailing, understanding of the power of premium brands and development of a distribution network show that great ideas reap retail success, no matter where they begin. In recognition of this, the judges awarded the business a highly commended award in the Business Excellence category.

In 1989, Gary began his Cromwell-based business selling retail appliances, and designing and installing sound systems. Recognising the potential, he led the way locally in selling over the internet.

Creative marketing, hiring great staff and putting customers first are critical to Gary’s business success. A strong online presence means selling to a nationwide customer base, maximising exposure through tools such as Google AdWords.

The business is also tightly integrated into the Cromwell community, regularly sponsoring and supporting local events for over 20 years.
 
Gary has created a hugely successful and sustainable business—a story that’s been shared with the Cromwell community throughout the years.

Apprentice Award - Winner

Luke Bottriell


With no previous horticultural industry knowledge or experience, Apprentice Award winner, Luke Bottriell, has fast-tracked his career through forward-thinking, enthusiasm and an excellent work ethic.

The judges described him as `pragmatic, ambitious and inspiring.’

An orchard supervisor at Hinton Orchard, Earnscleugh, Luke has quickly developed his abilities, applying learnings from his concurrent horticultural studies to the practical skills of orcharding. Luke takes responsibility for critical tasks and teams in orchard management, ably managing these throughout the seasons.

As a supervisor, Luke communicates well with staff, pitching in when required, providing feedback and leading with a calm, constructive manner under pressure.
 
Luke contributes positively and proactively to the team, fostering strong working relationships. This includes supporting the orchard’s seasonal workers with pastoral care outside of work hours if needed.

Luke’s achievements and the capabilities he’s developed in a short time are outstanding. He is a leader who consistently strives for the best—for himself, for others and for his chosen industry—and this makes him a winner.

Apprentice Award - Highly Commended

Dave Ewan


Apprentice builder, Dave Ewan, brings life experience, huge pride and a fantastic work ethic to his role with Sean Anderson Builders.

The judges presented Dave with a highly commended award in the Apprentice Award category, recognising his excellent skills and determination to achieve.

After initially training as a chef, Dave challenged himself by switching to a career in building.
 
With strong leadership and communication skills, Dave has quickly become `a righthand man’. Hardworking, meticulous and thorough, Dave produces high-quality work that often exceeds clients’ expectations.
 
Dave relishes the opportunities he has working with advanced technologies—he’s passionate about building high-end sustainable homes tailored to Central Otago’s extreme climate. Dave’s building knowledge has progressed rapidly from entry level projects to architectural homes featuring complex elements.

With great initiative, a solid understanding and knowledge of building processes and an excellent ability to communicate effectively with clients, suppliers, tradesmen or work colleagues, Dave expertly manages a site when required.

Dave demonstrates what can be achieved when you follow a dream with enduring passion and commitment.

Young Professional Award - Winner

Morgan Grundy

Young professional award winner Morgan Grundy’s outstanding business expertise and leadership skills add real value to Central Otago’s business and community environment.
 
The judges were hugely impressed by her achievements and abilities in shaping a successful business that delivers excellent food matched by exceptional customer service.

With an unwavering commitment to quality and innovation, Morgan manages Ranfurly’s Maniototo Café. Morgan’s superior skills in hospitality and operational planning—honed nationally and internationally—have led the café from a budding start-up in December 2015 to a thriving established business.

From concept to implementation, Morgan has realised opportunities to deliver excellence. With its urban-chic edge, the café offers fine, fresh fare and food for locals and for travellers on the go. 

Morgan’s contribution extends to promoting community causes through special events, sponsorships and vouchers. She is also on the Maniototo Promotions Committee and on the board of the Otago Central Rail Trail operator group.

She is a highly deserving winner who is making a significant contribution to Central Otago.

Youth Award - Winner

James Sutherland

Youth award winner, James Sutherland, impressed the judges with his influential leadership, and his commitment to contribute to a diversity of community and youth activities that benefit others.

A leader who acts with humility and passion, James’ style is collaborative and encouraging. He is a big picture thinker determined to make the world a better place, and committed to local and global issues.

In Year 13 at Dunstan High School, James is on the national board of Sticks’ n’ Stones, a founding member of the reformed Central Otago Youth Council, a senior leader and treasurer on the Otago Suicide Prevention Trust and a Young National party representative. 

He is on the school council and involved in inter-house sporting activities, debating, social studies quizzes, the Environment Group and the formal and after-party ball committees. He is a senior librarian, contributed nationally to the Model United Nations Assembly (MUNA), and served on the Alexandra Blossom Festival Committee.

Proactive and positive in supporting youth, James is a true community champion.

Community Service Award Recipient

Carol Haig


With boundless generosity forged by a love for the Clyde community, Carol Haig’s selfless commitment to `get involved’ is inspirational.
  
Everything she does is for the community, for children and for Clyde. Carol wants the best for her town and its people, never seeking her own reward.

With endless energy and enthusiasm, Carol lends a hand in big and small ways.

The breadth and passion of her community involvement spans 40 years. It includes key roles in the Clyde Volunteer Fire Brigade, Clyde Theatre Group (she is a life member), Clyde Memorial Hall committee, Promote Dunstan, Clyde Playcentre, Clyde School, Clyde Historical Museums and the Clyde Community Development Group.
 
In her voluntary contributions, Carol supports others in a positive way, recognising opportunities for their development and involvement. Understanding what her community needs, she collaborates to get things done in a cooperative and efficient way.

Over the years Carol has also provided personal support for those in need, sometimes in life-changing ways.

Carol’s great-great grandparents settled in Clyde in 1865—she understands and teaches the importance of generations cherishing and preserving the past. Carol’s own story is a remarkable, continuing tale of enthusiastic participation, encouragement of others and incredible pride in her community.

Community Service Award Recipient

Heather McPherson

With a big heart and a strong sense of community health and development, Heather McPherson epitomises the essence of community service. 

Over the decades she’s been instrumental in driving progress in many community-based organisations and events in the Cromwell Basin. 

Over two decades, Heather’s love and passion for community arts gently and expertly guided the Cromwell & District’s Community Arts Council, transforming it into a high-profile, proactive organisation that blossomed under her leadership as chair for 16 years.

Heather is on the Bannockburn Community Centre committee, a key organiser of Central Otago’s Trashion Show and supports the Cromwell Farmers’ and Craft Market, and thCromwell Wine and Food Festival, with her time and energy.

She was an active supporter of Central Otago’s early wine industry, including serving as chairperson of Central Otago Wine Growers.

Heather initiated and co-founded the boutique annual arts and activities event `Across the Bridge in Bannockburn’, including the popular Bannie Beanie competition.

Heather’s gifts for bringing people together and encouraging and creating opportunities for others—coupled with her ideas and creativity—have led to great things happening in her community.
 
Forward-thinking, she constantly strives to see how something can be done better and how best to involve people and resources. Heather is a true community champion, committed to making Central Otago a better place.

Community Service Award Recipient

Rod Peirce


When it comes to community, no job is too tough for Rod Peirce, a truly inspirational volunteer. Across so many levels, Rod has made an extraordinary personal contribution to the successful development of the Clutha Gold Trail.
 
Rod’s foresight, vision and leadership steered the project through political and practical hurdles. He led the initial working party, held stakeholder meetings and oversaw a feasibility study. Under his leadership, the Clutha Gold Charitable Trust secured the initial $3.8 million government grant needed for the $5.2 million construction project.

Recognising the benefits a cycling trail would bring to Teviot Valley communities, Rod guided the project with integrity, tenacity and inimitable humour through eight years of planning and three years of construction.

Rod continues to contribute countless `hands-on’ hours in all weathers—clearing trees, controlling weeds, replacing signs and unblocking ditches—as well as many administrative tasks.

There are also Rod’s other community contributions. For a decade, he was the Millers Flat Ettrick Fire Brigade’s foundation fire chief. He led the Millers Flat Hall rebuild and chaired the Teviot Valley’s first community plan group.

A proud community trailblazer, Rod cares for and wants the best for his community, always doing the hard yards with energy and a smile. 

His unwavering determination and commitment to get the job done `boots and all’ has created a hugely significant tourism and public amenity asset—a magnificent legacy for future generations.

Community Service Award Recipient

Judy Elliot Hall

Judy Elliott Hall has truckloads of energy and time for the Alexandra community. Her decades-long voluntary contribution as an active leader and participant in a raft of local organisations and community work is motivational and inspiring.

The Alexandra Senior Citizens, Ranui Home House, the Alexandra Citizens Advice Bureau, the Alexandra Aquatic Centre, the Town Christmas Decorations committee, the Alexandra Blossom Festival, the Alexandra Community Board—all have benefitted from Judy’s active involvement.

Judy is an honorary life member of the Alexandra Volunteer Fire Brigade, where she serves as secretary and has been a support person for many years. She’s chair of Alexandra Victim Support—where she’s volunteered for more than 20 years, chair of the Alexandra Wheelchair Van committee, and a trustee of the recently-formed Alexandra Rural Community Patrol. For many years she was involved in Central Otago netball as an umpire and club chairperson.

Fundraising is one of Judy’s main passions. She often helps on collection days or works behind the scenes to fundraise for community projects.
 
Judy’s generosity and compassion shine through in personal ways. Over decades Judy fostered children needing support, opening her home to provide life-changing experiences.

Gifting her time, energy and wisdom, Judy has made an outstanding and enduring contribution to the Alexandra community.

Community Service Award Recipient

Valerie Smith

Faith, family and community are at the centre of Valerie Smith’s incredible, long-standing service to her community.
 
Valerie is loved for her quiet generosity, humility and patience, and the friendship, care and practical support she gives to others. From a teenager organising Christmas presents for children in need, Valerie’s life-time involvement in community, particularly church activities, is awe-inspiring. 

For 35 years, Valerie taught the all-age Sunday School at Naseby. For 39 years, she’s taught `Adventure Time’, a regular lunch-time programme held several times a term, that teaches Christian values to Maniototo Area School children.
 
Valerie organises the community chaplaincy services for Ranfurly’s Chalet Rest-home, taking the rest-home, local ANZAC, Christmas Eve and funeral services when needed. Valerie received national recognition for her 44-year voluntary service to Bible in Schools.

Many Maniototo organisations have benefited from Valerie’s extraordinary voluntary contributions. For 18 years she’s been involved with the Naseby Information Centre & Craft Centre, initially as a patron and founding member, and then as a volunteer, committee member, surrounds caretaker and fundraiser. Valerie has also volunteered for the Maniototo A & P Show, the Cancer Society, Plunket and the Naseby Athenaeum.
 
Compassionately and quietly serving others, Valerie lives by her faith. Her enduring, selfless, and inspirational contribution is truly special.