OPINION: Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood. Marie Curie, Polish Nobel Prize-winning chemist (1867-1934). --------------------
At a time when business success has seldom been more important to the economic wellbeing of our region, it was reassuring to see Taranaki celebrating its business achievers during the weekend.
On Saturday night, more than 300 members of Taranaki's business community got together to recognise the winners of the Westpac Taranaki Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards.
Also at stake was the 2012 title of Top Shop, sponsored by the Taranaki Daily News, and under its revamped format, the competition seems to have found its home as part of the business awards evening.
On Sunday night, it was the turn of the hospitality awards to celebrate its top performers with a colourful awards night in which many of the 300-plus crowd entered into the spirit of the "A Night at the Movies" theme.
It is easy to see why we should all take more than a passing interest in just who is doing well across those three activities. Much of the prosperity of our region is directly linked to how well our businesses do and the jobs they create as a result. Add to that equation the importance of our tourism and hospitality sectors being adept at looking after our visitors and tourists and it is easy to embrace the reasons behind the weekend's gala nights.
Business confidence is a vital ingredient. The early days of the 21st century will, in part, be remembered for some of capitalism's darkest days, with an avoidable global recession part of the enduring legacy of the excesses of the financial largesse of many.
Now it is time to put that behind us, albeit with greater government oversight, but good ideas come from small beginnings and it is intriguing to see just what a diverse mixture of businesses and people were honoured during the weekend.
At the business awards it was transport company Hooker Pacific that took out the supreme award. The New Plymouth-based business has a history spanning more than 140 years, employs about 600 people and operates about the same number of trucks. The sheer size of the company would come as a surprise to many, and perhaps not coincidentally it has flourished since a management buy-out in the late 1980s.
There was also a strong tourism and hospitality theme running through the award winners, with Rotokare Scenic Reserve Trust and Belt Rd Seaside Holiday Park winning categories, and Venture Taranaki boss Stuart Trundle the recipient of the Mayoral Award.
The Top Shop Award went to the Silk Day Spa, which headed off some fierce competition, while winners of the Hospitality Awards included colourful local identity Doc van Praagh, for outstanding hospitality achievement, Table at Nice Hotel, Chaos Cafe and Burger Fuel.
To all the winners from the two evenings, we congratulate you. To all those who entered, or were nominated, well done.
Taranaki needs you all to be doing well and it is important we continue to strive for excellence.
- Taranaki Daily News
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