I-SITE staff take major award
The team behind the reimagined Matamata i-SITE Gatehouse came away one of the big winners from the Matamata- Piako District Council Business Awards last week.
About 280 people turned up at the Matamata Memorial Centre for the event, organised by the council to acknowledge merit in local business.
Awards were given out in two main categories, business excellence and customer service, with a winner named in each field for Matamata, Morrinsville and Te Aroha. Businesses nominated their peers and the local business associations acted as judgse, with public votes also taken into consideration for the customer service awards.
Matamata’s Tolkienthemed visitor information centre was named as the town’s pick for the business excellence gong, beating eight other nominees for the prize.
Matamata Public Relations Association manager Sue Whiting accepted the award and said it was a credit to her staff and all those involved with the Gatehouse project, who work tirelessly and don’t expect recognition or praise.
The Gatehouse underwent a $250,000 revamp in November last year, relaunched with a Hobbiton facade to coincide with the release of the first film in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy.
From five finalists publicly notified and voted on in each town for the customer service awards, Redoubt Bar and Eatery was given the nod in Matamata
‘‘It’s great isn’t it, it’s fantastic. We certainly pride ourselves on our service so to get some recognition is outstanding,’’ Redoubt Bar and Eatery proprietor Jacob Henderson said.
‘‘Our rule is if you have been here three times, we should know your name and what you drink.’’
Outgoing MatamataPiako Mayor Hugh Vercoe presented Morrinsville man Darrell Russell with the business personality of the year award.
Russell is the owneroperator of Piako Group, which runs Piako Tractors, Piako Mitsubishi and the Morrinsville Mobil.
Mr Vercoe also presented the best kept business awards, which the associations select. That award was presented to Diamond Jewellers in Matamata.
Directors Neil and Joan Gibbs said it was unexpected to get the award two years in a row and it felt fantastic.
‘‘It certainly is very grati- fying and it’s certainly an honour to be recognised for having one of the best kept businesses in Matamata because that’s what it’s all about,’’ Mr Gibbs said.
‘‘ Our total package is from the front of the shop to the back of the shop. It’s our presentation and how we are seen by the public every day. They’ll see me out there at 7.30 in the morning sweeping the footpath and out there at 5.30 at night bringing in the signs and taking the banners down.’’
Business excellence: Matamata i-SITE Gatehouse manager Sue Whiting with Hayley Horne and Memorie Brooky.
Customer service: Redoubt Bar and Eatery proprietor Jacob Henderson, manager Clifford Williams, head chef Cherie Nathan and apprentice chef Marese Prujean.
Best Kept Business: Neil and Joan Gibbs from Diamond Jewellers.