Blackcurrant business supreme winner at the South Canterbury Awards

A Pleasant Point couple’s black currant business was the big winner of the South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce’s Ara Business Excellence Awards 2022.

Tony and Afsaneh Howey’s business, Viberi, also won the Global Exporter award at the awards show, held at several events throughout the day, at Movie Max Digital Timaru on Monday.

The Howeys purchased their 72 hectare Pleasant Point blackcurrant farm in 2004. Viberi produces between 200 and 300 tonnes of mainly black currants and gooseberries per year, some of which is freeze-dried and powdered. The company serves national and international markets.

Thirteen more winners were announced on Monday in various categories at the event, including the new Workplace Wellbeing Award (replacing the Workplace Safety Award), Global Exporter, Innovation and Technology, sustainability and environmental practices and emerging leadership.

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The judges said Viberi’s entry underlined “the importance of having a strong set of core values ​​that are then lived and breathed, literally from the paddock to the plate”.

“Other highlights included an emerging social media presence, high-value products in development, and a commitment to environmental stewardship,” the judges said.

The judges said Viberi's entry underlined

JOHN BISSET/Stuff

The judges said Viberi’s entry underlined “the importance of having a strong set of core values ​​that are then lived and breathed, literally from the paddock to the plate”. Afsaneh and Tony photographed in 2021.

South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce chief executive Wendy Smith said it was refreshing to see a business like Viberi, developed in South Canterbury, practicing vertical integration that “ensures high quality is maintained across all processes, from farm to consumer”.

“An organic company that is a trusted and passionately family-run superfood,” Smith said.

Gloriavale Leavers' Support Trust was also recognized at the awards ceremony, winning the community organization award.  Pictured is trusted manager Liz Gregory.

Valentina Bellomo / Stuff

Gloriavale Leavers’ Support Trust was also recognized at the awards ceremony, winning the community organization award. Pictured is trusted manager Liz Gregory.

Gloriavale Leavers’ Support Trust was also recognized at the awards ceremony, winning the community organization award.

Smith said trust had made a difference in so many lives and was working in a very difficult environment.

On Monday, staff at The Oxford Restaurant in Timaru won the Medium Business Award at the South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce's 2022 Ara Business Excellence Awards.

AIMAN AMERUL MUNER / Stuff

On Monday, staff at The Oxford Restaurant in Timaru won the Medium Business Award at the South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce’s 2022 Ara Business Excellence Awards.

The judges said the trust is able to provide “a comprehensive package of comprehensive services to those in need”.

“He has grown rapidly and is a trusted supplier and strong advocate locally and nationally,” they said.

Shaun and Aimee Fisher of the Vetta Group pictured after winning the Innovation and Technology Award at the 2022 Ara Business Excellence Awards on Monday.

AIMAN AMERUL MUNER / Stuff

Shaun and Aimee Fisher of the Vetta Group pictured after winning the Innovation and Technology Award at the 2022 Ara Business Excellence Awards on Monday.

Smith said the 2022 awards reflect the diversity, innovation and tenacity of the South Canterbury community.

“Despite the Covid pandemic and a series of challenges most businesses and families have never faced before, the awards saw a very impressive list of entrants and finalists.

“The judges all had the difficult task of narrowing down the entries to the incredible finalists and then to the actual winners themselves,” she said.

Wendy Smith said the awards reflect the diversity, innovation and tenacity of the South Canterbury community.

MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/STUFF

Wendy Smith said the awards reflect the diversity, innovation and tenacity of the South Canterbury community.

Smith said that for a community to thrive, there must be a strong business sector complemented by a robust and thriving nonprofit sector.

She said this year’s prices were of particular significance as the impact of Covid-19, the war in Ukraine, labor shortages and supply chain disruption had led to increased volatility in the market.

The new Workplace Wellbeing Award recognized the importance for companies to be committed to the health and wellbeing of their staff, she said.

“It was wonderful to see this hotly contested award.”

Jason and Amy Menard of MenardsNZ Ecosanctuary Accommodation have won the Sustainability and Environment Award at BEA 2022.

AIMAN AMERUL MUNER / Stuff

Jason and Amy Menard of MenardsNZ Ecosanctuary Accommodation have won the Sustainability and Environment Award at BEA 2022.

“The businesses that have participated in the awards have shown adaptability, creativity and innovation and the South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce is proud to have provided the business awards platform to recognize and celebrate these achievements.

“The pride in each nomination is evident and the standards are getting higher and higher,” she said.

The new format for the awards this year saw five back-to-back smaller events held at the theater complex, which Smith said reflected everyone’s adaptation to respond to the new Covid-19 environment.

Lynn River CEO Anthony Griffin pictured after winning the Great Business Award at the 2022 Business Excellence Awards.

AIMAN AMERUL MUNER / Stuff

Lynn River CEO Anthony Griffin pictured after winning the Great Business Award at the 2022 Business Excellence Awards.

The award judges were Michael Barnett, Michelle Pye, Andrew Hercus, Landon McMillan and the special award judges were Wendy Smith, Dr William Rolleston, Fiona Stevens, ECan, Gordon Handy, Leonie Rasmussen, 2degrees and the chamber council.

Winners:

Emerging Business Award Finalist: 360 Cranes and Transport

Emerging Business Award Winner: The learning barn

Small Business Pricing: Petronelle Bookstore

Medium Business Price: The Oxford

Large Enterprise Award: Lynn River

Global Exporter Price: Viberi

Community Organization Award: Gloriavale Leavers Support Trust

Well-Being at Work Award: Bidwill Trust Hospital

Sustainability and Environment Award: Accommodation at MenardsNZ Ecosanctuary

Innovation and Technology Awards: Vetta Group

Support local price: Timaru District Libraries

Second Emerging Leader: Regan McLay of Oceania Dairy

Emerging Leader Winner: Cassandra Slumskie of Trinity Employment

Audience Award: Timaru District Libraries

Special mention : Tony Shaw

Supreme Award: Viberi

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