Out­door cen­tre top dog in awards night

Kapiti Observer - - FRONT PAGE - STAFF RE­PORTER

Mak­ing an im­pact in the great out­doors has seen one re­gional busi­ness scoop the supreme gong at the Elec­tra Busi­ness Awards.

Bou­tique out­door cen­tre Makahika Out­door Pur­suit Cen­tre has been named the 2017 busi­ness of the year on Fri­day.

The busi­ness, in the Tararua Range be­hind Levin, of­fers out­door ad­ven­tures cov­er­ing ev­ery­thing from school camps to cor­po­rate team build­ing and lead­er­ship pro­grammes. Makahika OPC also claimed the small busi­ness cat­e­gory of the ex­cel­lence awards.

Ka¯piti Pak’nSave won the highly com­mended award af­ter top­ping the large busi­ness cat­e­gory.

Mean­while, the gala din­ner at South­ward the­atre saw the in­duc­tion of two new members of the busi­ness hall of fame - Peter Hou­si­aux and Stu­art Irons.

Hou­si­aux built his Con­crete Doc­tors busi­ness af­ter he left

taki Col­lege at 15 to work on a farm be­fore mov­ing into an ap­pren­tice­ship as a fit­ter welder at engi­neer­ing firm, Wil­lis Broth­ers in taki.

The com­pany grew over the years and its work in­cluded projects such as the West­pac Sta­dium build – a project that saw staff num­bers leap from 4 to 24 in a year.

The award comes with the com­pany pre­fer­ring to keep an

taki yard, de­spite hav­ing wok na­tion­ally, and re­cruit­ing staff lo­cally.

He was a mem­ber of the Otaki Surf Life Saving Club and still qual­i­fied as a surf life­saver af­ter 40 years. In 2015 he was named Ka¯piti Sportsper­son of the Year.

Irons was born in Fox­ton in 1942 and be­came one of the lead­ing em­ploy­ers in Horowhenua. His for­ma­tive years were spent help­ing his par­ents in their Four Square in the town.

In 1974 he bought his par­ents’ Four Square and car­ried on the fam­ily busi­ness.

He bought Levin Self Help Su­per­mar­ket in 1977, Write Price in 1982, fol­lowed by the even larger New World su­per­mar­ket in 1987.

In 2006, Irons re­tired and sold the busi­ness. By then, his gro­cery stores were one of Horowhenua’s big­gest em­ploy­ers with more than 200 staff.

Irons took a keen com­mu­nity¯O in­ter­est: help­ing lo­cal schools, be­com­ing a foun­da­tion mem­ber of the Fox­ton Tourist and De­vel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion, and in­volve­ment in the first Spring Fling pro­mo­tion.

Sally and John Dux­field, cen­tre, over­all win­ners of the 2017 Elec­tra Busi­ness Awards, with their ven­ture, Makahika Out­door Pur­suit Cen­tre.

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