A red letter year for big adventure
Bianca Ranson is looking forward to another successful year after running away with a top award.
Her business, Potiki Adventures, is the first outdoor adventure tourism company based solely on Maori culture to win the New Zealand Outdoor Awards 2013.
Previous winners have included Outward Bound, the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre and Motutapu Outdoor Education Camp.
The award is presented annually and was the climax of the week-long World Outdoors Summit in November at the Energy Events Centre, Rotorua.
It is attended by leading people in the outdoors tourism industry from New Zealand and abroad.
Bianca is thrilled with the award on its plinth and the framed certificate that goes with it.
The plinth is marked by a plaque listing previous winners, to which Potiki's will be added later.
She had no idea the company was going to get it before the announcement at the formal dinner, which marked the summit's close.
"Both finalists were in the room - Adventure Specialties was the other one.
"Potiki is the first Maori organisation to win it. It shows if you get on and do good work, you'll be recognised.
"We're not massive. It's a pretty cool acknowledgement for work I and my staff have been doing."
It is not the only highlight of Bianca's year.
In October, she went off to have dinner with Prince Edward at Windsor Castle in connection with the Duke of Edinburgh's Hillary Award.
Bianca runs its bronze, silver and gold courses for Maori youngsters and received a grant from the award's International Special Project's Fund to do it in Kawerau in the Bay of Plenty.
Kawerau teenager Keesha King, who is close to finishing her bronze, went with Bianca to England to speak at the Windsor Castle dinner.
It had been organised to raise money from philanthropists for the special projects fund.
"The trip to London was awesome," Bianca says.
" We raised $236,000 on the night in the space of a dinner. It will go to projects all around the world.
"Sophie, Prince Edward's wife, she's cool and he's very down to earth. We sat at his table. He's primo - a really cool guy."
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