Many new beginnings in store for us in 2011
Mabel’s slice of heaven
At the close of 2010 one thing is certain: 2011 promises to be a year of new leadership and change. With local body elections and the recent Mana by-election now complete, a swathe of fresh faces will be making decisions for our community.
The by-election saw Labour’s Kris Faafoi secure the Mana seat, with National’s MP Hekia Parata a close second.
Former mayor Jenny Brash decided not to stand for reelection for the mayoralty, which paved the way for Nick Leggett to secure the mayoral chain.
The council elections put a suite of first-term councillors around the council table.
Gary Simpson has become the new chief executive of Porirua City Council.
Mr Simpson is a very experienced executive who has held a number of senior positions in local government.
He has intimate knowledge of local and regional issues and will be an asset to projects such as the city centre revitalisation project.
The project is a key initiative for the shaping of the business environment and for ensuring that economic opportunities are maximised.
The ability of businesses to grow in Porirua City will be largely dependent on how well the project is executed.
It has been a good year for the Porirua Chamber of Commerce, with our membership steadily growing and the chamber actively providing a forum for businesses to be heard.
This year we have focused on issues affecting the business community and how to best be an advocate for industry sectors.
Our industry advisory committees have proved to be effective in ensuring that the views of members are represented.
Our networking events and business awards programme have also been well received and have collectively contributed to a strong local business community.
The Westpac Porirua City Business Excellence Awards evening was held on October 29 at Te Rauparaha Arena.
It was a glittering evening of celebration of success, attended by more than 280 guests.
There were 12 winners chosen from 33 finalists.
The supreme winner was the Black Rose Florist Design Store.
This fantastic business has increased its market share of corporate clients through its professionalism and commitment to excellence.
This year, the primary issue for local businesses has been the uncertainty in these times of fiscal constraint and increasing demands on businesses.
Next year the chamber will continue to engage actively with Porirua City Council to identify and plan for economic development opportunities in Porirua.
Our challenge is to promote the city as an attractive place to operate a business.
This is contingent on certainty and clarity about council regulatory requirements and the likelihood of business proposals being accepted.
This is an area that requires continued collaborative effort between the chamber and the council.
The Porirua Chamber of Commerce has become the platform for a strong local business community and many individuals have expressed pride in being part of the organisation.
The tireless commitment and dedication of our board has played a significant part in this outcome.
I congratulate everyone who has played their part in making Porirua City a great place to do business and wish you all the very best for next year. From the checkout aisle to centre stage, Porirua New World employee Mabel Hewitt was in her element when she was selected for a starring role in a new advertisement where supermarket staff play instruments made of fruits and vegetables.
Ms Hewitt’s talent was discovered by Dave Dobbyn following a nationwide audition tour of New World supermarkets.
New World Porirua owneroperator Warren Wright knew Ms Hewitt would be perfect for the ad.
‘‘She is the life and soul of this place, everyone loves her and if there is ever anything musical happening, she is always involved,’’ he said.
‘‘Shoppers come up to her all the time now and ask her about the campaign. It has given our customers something really different to talk to her about – they say, ‘you’re the lady from the ad, aren’t you?’ ’’
The advertisement shows New World staff playing Dobbyn’s Slice of Heaven on instruments made from everyday products and produce that can be bought from the supermarket.
Ms Hewitt has played the guitar and ukulele since she was a child and says it was a great thrill to play in the orchestra.
‘‘It was so nice to meet other New World staff from around the country. I would never have had this opportunity otherwise. Once we started playing it was like we had been together for a long time; we all just clicked,’’ she said.
Fresh sounds: Mabel Hewitt with the pumpkin ukulele she can be seen playing in New World’s latest advertising campaign.