Pastor spreads word in his new business
A Timaru pastor's success in spreading the good word about South Canterbury has inspired him to set up his own company.
Jonan Castillon and his family shifted from Auckland to Timaru a year ago, seeking professional and ministry opportunities.
The pastor now helps with the praise and worship team at Wilson St Baptist Church and ministers to South Canterbury's Filipino community.
Mr Castillon got such a favourable response to his blog, and subsequent coverage, that clients asked him to do some public relations work.
"Ross Waugh, the founder and director of Waugh Infrastructure Management, read The Timaru Herald article about how my blog entry became an advertisement for South Canterbury," he said.
"He contacted me and asked if I'm willing to work on his website projects. Thus, he became my first client."
Mr Castillon established his company, Online Writing Niche, in May.
He has had offers from at least a couple of other clients since.
"It's been really exciting. I'm able to fit it in with my work at the church, because I'm a morning person. I get up about 5am, so that gives me a lot of hours in the day," he said.
Last year, a blog of his extolling the virtues of South Canterbury got picked up by Panay News, and the newspaper ran it as a full-page feature in its December 30 edition.
The paper is published in the Western Visayas region of the Philippines, which is home to about seven million people.
Mr Castillon had previously entered the blogpost in the Aoraki Development Business and Tourism's Tell a Friend competition. Although he was not a finalist, Mr Castillon said it was a positive experience entering the competition, and it had inspired him to do more.
"When we came to South Canterbury, we really wanted to get involved in the community. So many new doors have opened for us," he said.
Aoraki Development Business and Tourism chief executive Wendy Smith said it would run a similar competition to Tell A Friend next year.
"There were so many good news stories to come out of this year's competition. I was so pleased to hear about Jonan's new business venture," she said.
- © Fairfax NZ News