Eleven dynamic and innovative businesses have entered the Rural Women New Zealand Enterprising Rural Women Awards 2015.
“This is the seventh year we’ve held the Enterprising Rural Women Awards,” says Rural Women National President, Wendy McGowan. “We’re starting to see an emerging trend of dynamic rural businesses being run by women to meet the needs of the rural community but with wider appeal to urban residents and tourists.”
Entry profiles in alphabetical order:
Kate Belcher – Revolution Tours Ltd
Revolution Tours Ltd is a rural tourism company owned by Kate and Matt Belcher. They run four-day, three-night fully guided and supported cycling and walking tours called ‘The Paradise Trail’ in Glenorchy. They moved to Queenstown several years ago and drove to Glenorchy one day and felt an instant connection. They always wanted to be self-employed and contribute financially to the Glenorchy town and helping it thrive was part of their business plan.
They started the business in 2011 after researching, planning and gaining all the consents and permissions. It is the original guided cycle tour company in Queenstown and the only one operating in Glenorchy. Target market is 50-80 year olds who still enjoy physical activity but want to enjoy a good meal and comfortable night’s sleep after a day of adventure. They often receive the ultimate compliment that they have exceeded their clients’ expectations.
Bridget Canning – WIZwireless Limited
Owners Bridget and John Canning have a sheep and beef farm North East of Masterton.
They wanted broadband at home but found it was not available so they approached a local wireless company but it was so costly they decided to set up their own broadband infrastructure to support local residents.
WIZWireless provides coverage throughout Wairarapa and into the lower Tararua area. They get a buzz from installing new subscribers and feel that they are making a real difference to people’s lives. They can reduce phone bills by adding VoIP and extending mobile coverage with a Vodafone Sure Signal connecting over their network. John works at the farm while Bridget manages the broadband business.
Bernadette Jackson LaValla
LaValla is a function centre specializing in weddings, conferencing, and accommodation set in an historical rural location 1.3km outside of Tuakau in the Waikato. LaValla was purchased in 2011 as a derelict Marist School and have converted it into a function centre that has hosted over 20 weddings and over 20 more are booked for 2015.
LaValla offers accommodation options, corporate functions, team building, clubs and family events including funerals. They offer a high quality product that is diverse enough that most people can afford to use them for one special occasion event in their life. They also support local groups with fundraising opportunities at their public events such as garden concerts.
Adi McMaster- Martygirl Skinfood
Martygirl is a natural, ethical skinfood range. Adi McMaster’s business has grown from a hobby handmade in the kitchen with homemade labels and assorted jars, to being a branded professional product successfully marketed through local fairs and online sales. Adi also hosts workshops for locals to learn more about ingredients and make their own natural products.
Martygirl is based on the philosophy that you should not put anything on your skin that you would not eat or recognise on the label. Every product is 100 percent handmade with skin softening, soothing, local Martinbrough or nearby ingredients. Locally foraged herbs are researched before they are infused into oils, glycerites or tinctures and every product is named for local Wairarapa places.
Bronwyn Muir – OnFarm Safety New Zealand
OnFarmSafety New Zealand was conceived to assist farm businesses to understand current farm health and safety legislation and prepare the rural community for new legislation. It started from Bronwyn Muir helping out one farmer who said that she explained the legislation well and there is a need for farmers to understand health and safety law.
Three years on, OnFarmSafety NZ has turned into a sustainable business. Bronwyn and staff take time to explain and support each farmer client through education on specific health and safety acts, codes, regulations and technical advice. Bronwyn and her team continue to create new ways and tools to assist the farmer to achieve health and safety compliance.
Chanelle Purser – Carvin Streetwear
Carvin Streetwear is a fashion clothing, footwear and accessories store based in Gore. Chanelle was motivated to start up a fashion clothing store as farm duties did not allow enough time to travel further afield than Gore for shopping trips. After moving from the surfing region of Taranaki she recognised a gap in the market for streetwear fashion in Gore.
Carvin Streetwear opened in 2005 with Chanelle and two part-time staff and has evolved over the years and is now located in a premium retail space with full time staff who have completed retail industry training. In the past year staff have won a retail professional service award and the shop was awarded Top Shop for Otago and Southland and were runners-up for the Supreme Top Shop Award.
Renee Riley – Bay Fitness
Renee Riley’s fitness business started nearly four years ago when she moved to Collingwood. Her husband did not need extra help on the farm so she wanted to find a career. She had trained as a personal trainer when she was younger but working in a big gym was not her style. She did some research about Collingwood and realized there were no options for locals to do fitness classes in their community.
Renee started off with a circuit strength training class at a local school hall which grew into several classes a week and personal training sessions. Eventually she leased a bigger hall and converted it into a gym with equipment. She now runs small group classes, including an “Easy Does It” class for older, less mobile people, as well as bootcamps and a women’s retreat.
Marie Taylor- Plant Hawke’s Bay
Plant Hawke’s Bay is a native plant nursery specialising in growing eco-sourced Hawke’s Bay plants. Marie set up the company in 2005 with the objective to see more Hawke’s Bay plants going back into the local landscape. Marie has extensive knowledge of the distribution of native plants throughout the area after working for the QE II Trust for several years.
They grow around 85,000 plants a year on leased land. They sell wholesale plants and contract grow for farmers, lifestyle block owners, landscapers and for conservation projects like the kakabeak restoration. About 95 percent of plants are eco-sourced by collecting the seed and cuttings from natural plants in the wild. Marie’s business aims to be the preferred supplier of native plants, have a profitable and sustainable business and to help save plant species.
Holly Tonkin – Avocado Contracting
Holly Tonkin has been avocado contracting for five years. Holly grew up in the rural sector but pursued other careers until her mother asked her to help pick avocados. She loved it and enjoyed being outdoors and soon found a job as a picker for avocados in Whangarei.
Holly now owns a business using hydralada’s which are elevated working platforms, and a transport trailer to move between jobs. Her clients include 20 avocado orchards and her main job is harvesting and managing staff to do the picking. Holly also undertakes pruning and general nursery tasks. Her clients have said that she has proved to be careful and respectful of the orchard and strives to avoid breakage and damage to orchard trees.
Marion Williams- Marion Williams Counselling
Marion Williams worked on a farm with her family for a decade and the reality hit hard as drought, floods and snow storms affected the farm. After completing a BA degree in applied psychology she applied for a position at a community based rural counselling service. She worked part-time and gained accreditation with the New Zealand Association of Counsellors and other industry organisations.
In 2002 Marion sold the farm and now focuses on counselling. The foundation of her services is built on her experience and knowledge of rural culture and the gaps that the culture has created when it comes to acknowledging and talking about emotional health. The economic benefits to rural and urban communities in addressing emotional health through counselling are immeasurable.
Latitude Media was started from home by Joanne Taylor in 2007. She co-owns the business with her husband Deane but is solely responsible for the operational side of the business. They are also arable farmers who produce vegetable seed. The motivation to set up a magazine was to provide upmarket material for local women to read, especially in the rural areas of Canterbury.
Joanne Taylor filled a gap in the market for a high end magazine with inspiring real stories about local people written for a female rural audience. There are regular advertisers who have been with the magazine for over eight years. In every issue they feature a local charity, food producer and stories on art, history and culture. The one constant has to be a connection to Canterbury.
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